Thursday, July 29, 2010

Campus Organizing Toolkit: Liberal Campuses

Campus Organizing Toolkit: Liberal Universities

For this final installment of my part of the series, I've focused on Liberal College Campuses. I interviewed some interns that go to some traditionally liberal/radical campuses (including UC Berkeley, hence the photo) to find out some of the organizing issues they face trying to do feminist organizing on a campus that already seems pretty down. Read the tips and let me know if there's any nuggets you'd like to add.

1. Combat Apathy- If your campus is already liberal, what else is there left to do? Plenty! On a liberal campus, folks tend to get apathetic about politics because they think things are as good as they can get. Bring awareness to your campus about issues that people have not heard about before to energize folks to take action.

2. Defeat Fractionalization- Put aside your differences with other progressive groups and collaborate if there is an issue that you can agree on. You can even use this as an opportunity to highlight key differences in your opinions, while still maximizing your resources. See if you can work together on a big event during “Welcome Week”, rather than scheduling simultaneous events and competing for attendees.

3. Think Bigger- When you’ve got the support of your campus under control, try expanding your efforts towards a larger audience. Take on issues in your city, or bring awareness to global issues.

4. Keep Up a Dialogue- Sometimes it feels like you’re singing to the choir at a liberal university. Make sure you keep up a dialogue with those with opposing views, even if they are in the minority. This will prepare you for when and if you move away from your liberal haven, and it will keep people cognizant of the fact that there is opposition to progress.

5. Raise Consciousness About Gender Inequalities in Liberal Politics- Just because a group is liberal or progressive does not mean that they’re perfect on gender equality. Raise awareness on campus and in progressive communities and engage them in thinking critically about the gender dynamics in their community.

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