Monday, August 2, 2010

Toolkit part deux: Organising at an Ivy League University

I am not a student at an Ivy League university, but go to a "hidden ivy." Thus, for this toolkit that will hopefully help you in organising at your own Ivy League University, I drew on my experiences from Colgate and the experiences from other organisers who attend Ivy League universities. Remember, this is only a guideline to organising, feel free to send suggestions of other tips that you feel should be included and never be afraid to revise your organising as you see fit!

Ivy Leagues present their own unique set of challenges when it comes to organising students around a feminist or progressive cause. Much like affluent college campuses, students at Ivy League universities may feel extremely privileged and entitled (not saying all students will feel this way). This toolkit will give you a simple roadmap to organising as a student leader at an Ivy League university.

  1. Poll students to figure out what they feel the most pressing feminist issue is (or whatever issue your organisation is fighting for)—sometimes students are not always galvanised around a common cause. Polling students allows them to feel that their opinions count, and assures that all will be passionate towards what they are fighting for.
  2. Hold weekly discussions to enlighten your student body—I’ve found (going to school at a “hidden ivy” that a lot of students simply need to be informed about issues before you can expect them to take action on them. There is always a lot of talk about action, but not always a discourse about how to move towards action. Education and awareness-raising seems to be the best way.
  3. Have a fundraiser or bake sale—These are always really good ways to mobilise students on large campuses around a cause. Everyone likes goodies and most people opt in to fundraisers. Tabling for these events is an excellent way to raise awareness of your cause to people that may have never known.
  4. Utilise your university’s student activity fair—Most schools have student activity fairs. Utilising this and creating pamphlets and material that draw in students are a surefire way to gain support for your cause.

photo cred: Google


Queen Celestyna said...

Thanks for posting this! I start grad school at Columbia in the fall, I'll definitely keep this list in mind!

Alanna.Kwoka said...

I just graduated from an Ivy League University where I spent four years organizing around feminist issues. There is always a need for more education and awareness. The FMLA at my school started doing a weekly Tea and Feminism where we would hold discussions on various topics. We would publicize each meeting in various places - posters, morning mail, facebook, etc. We ended up with a regular crowd, but for some topics, such as the male birth control pill, we would get a lot of people. It was also fun to research the topic a little before each meeting.
Another suggestion: If your school is lucky enough to have several feminist groups, such as a pro-choice group or sexual assault/domestic violence prevention group, organize a joint event. We would all have tables on the main green and invite the health education department and the local planned parenthood to table as well. It would be a bigger event, so more students would stop by. Good luck organizing at your "ivy league" schools this coming year.

derobinson said...

Those are excellent suggestions. Thank you Alanna.Kwoka!

derobinson said...
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