Back to the Skills
A good campaign isn’t just a series of unconnected events
and rallies. It must be based on a coherent idea of what’s
going to be achieved and how to achieve it. For a campaign to succeed
there must be a set of goals; an understanding of the campaign’s
impact upon your organization, constituents and allies; and knowledge
of the opponents, targets, tactics and timelines.
Although campaign planning may seem a little daunting at first,
don't worry – it can be among the most interesting and intellectually
engaging parts of organizing. And, be willing to invest time at
the beginning of your campaign to produce a detailed campaign plan.
The thoughtfulness and consideration that goes into your campaign
plan at the onset will likely be a major determining factor of the
campaign's eventual success. Most importantly, have fun with it
– campaign planning is a unique and exciting process that
too few people ever experience.
“If at first you don’t succeed,
escalate, escalate, escalate again.”
This is a brief overview of what your campaign might look like.
Basically, most campaigns have 7 parts:
..........2. Choose your campaign
..........4. Recruit / Educate / Build
..........5. Interact with target
..........6. Win or Regroup
These different parts do not necessarily take place consecutively.
You might start with some recruitment, do some research, then choose
your campaign. Planning and strategizing are crucial. They require
your group to lay out clear goals, identify resources and allies,
identify the decision makers who can give you what you want, and
plan your tactics. Recruitment, education and coalition building
are the means to build support and power to win your campaign.
Interaction with the target is a nice way of saying that you are
asking for what you want. The target is the person/people
who can give you what you want. This step really tests the strength
of the group, yet it pertains to the area that is most familiar
to groups: tactics. You may be able to walk into the president’s
office, sit down and say "Bob, I think it’s time we get
rid of disposables in the cafeteria," and get the response,
"Yes Sir." If that’s the case, well, either you’re
lucky or you just gave the school a library. If you’re like
most campus activists, you’d be stopped at the president’s
secretary, which means you need to do something a little more exciting.
Interaction with the target does not need to be confrontational,
but don’t be afraid of confrontation.
Finally, you win or regroup (a nice way of saying that you lost
and need to reevaluate your goals). At each turning point or after
a campaign is won, it is critical for your group to evaluate your
actions and decide ways to do the next tactic or campaign better.
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Power is not only what you have but what your
opponents think you have.
The form of
power you won't have
Before you can develop a good campaign, you should understand power.
Although power is often abused and used to oppress others, don’t
be fooled: power is “value-neutral” and organizing is
a form of building it. Although we may lack money or institutional
power, students can often (through our use of organizing) mobilize
people power. Organizing is about leveling the playing field: sharing
power with students, the community, and the public. Basically, organizing
is about democracy. In your campaign, you should assess the power
your members and allies have, compare it with your opponents’,
and choose an area where you can over-power them and win.
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Before You Start
Before you try to organize students at your school, you should
first consult with faculty, alumni, and other students who’ve
formed progressive organizations there. Find out what worked and
what has failed. Don’t repeat the mistakes of others; learn
from the past. Do your research and find out what precedents may
exist: campaigns at your university similar to what you’re
thinking of. For instance, if you’re considering running a
divestment campaign, it would be useful to know if any divestment
efforts had been successful in the past (such as Apartheid or Tobacco).
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Setting Campaign Goals
Be realistic, demand the impossible. (May 1968)
Once your group has chosen a campaign, it's time to get down to
the nitty-gritty details of planning it. Never begin a campaign
without setting clear goals.
A goal is a concrete, measurable end that you want to reach.
You need to be able to refer back to it later and answer the question:
“Have we won?” Your goals should be defined as specifically
as possible, and divided into long-range, medium range and short-range
Goals: These are far-reaching goals that you hope to achieve
eventually. Your current campaign is a step towards reaching these
goals. Long-term goals are important because they keep your group
focused on the deeper and more systemic change you seek while you’re
addressing immediate issues.
Goals: These are the tangible goals that you intend to
reach as a result of your current campaign. A common mistake of
campaign planners is to only develop goals at this level.
Goals: These goals are steps towards your intermediate
goals. Short-term goals are important because (1) small victories
along the way to the larger goals keep members enthusiastic and
optimistic about the possibility of eventual success and (2) groups
often need go through a stage of organizational development or power
building (i.e., increase in membership size, gain the support of
other student organizations, etc.) before they can win intermediate
or current campaign goals. Campaigns will frequently have several
short-term goals that act much like benchmarks to track the group's
..........• Long range:
Forcing Dow to accept its responsibilities in Bhopal
..........• Medium range:
Forcing your school to divest from Dow or vote in favor
of the Bhopal Shareholder’s Resolution
..........• Short range:
Passing a resolution in favor of divestment/shareholder advocacy
through the faculty senate.
Notice that your long-range goal is not the objective of your current
campaign. However the medium-range goal that you’ve set, which
is the objective of your campaign, will help build pressure for
Dow to agree to your longer-range goal.
There could be various and multiple short-term goals for this campaign
(e.g., collect 10,000 petition signatures in support of divestment,
elicit a supportive editorial from the campus newspaper, etc.).
The specific short-term or tactical goals that you set will depend
on your strategy. The nature of these goals will become clearer
after we discuss strategy and tactics in the following sections.
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Assessing Your Capabilities
Once you have a clear sense of your goals, it’s critical
that your group assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses.
What resources are currently available to your group? What resources
are you lacking? In this assessment, be certain to consider all
types of resources - money, volunteers, facilities, skills, time,
connections, reputation, and others. Also ask what internal problems,
if any, need to be fixed before you can move forward.
This is also the time to identify your friends and enemies –
those allies you should reach out to assist with the campaign and
those opponents who may attempt to hinder your campaign efforts.
To identify your allies, you should answer the following questions:
..........• Who cares about this
..........• Would they share your
..........• What are their strengths
(e.g., credibility, part of a larger network, money, special skills,
very newsworthy, special appeal, etc.)?
..........• What are their weaknesses?
..........• Who is most affected
by this issue? Whose problem is it?
..........• What are the potential
gains if they win?
..........• What risks might they
be taking to work on the issue?
..........• Are these people organized
into groups? If so, which groups?
..........• How are these groups
structured? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
To identify your opponents, you should answer the following
..........• What groups or individuals
are likely to oppose your efforts?
..........• What will your campaign
victory cost them?
..........• What are their strengths
..........• What will they likely
do or spend to oppose you?
Try not to limit yourself to "traditional" allies and
opponents. For instance, on campus, traditional allies of progressive
causes include the environmental club, the anti-sweatshop group,
the LGBT organization, and others. Examine carefully how the issue
you are working on may affect other groups of people and reach out
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Building Your Organization
The campaign should also build your organization. How can this
campaign create new leaders and strengthen the ones you have? How
can it bring in new members? How can it involve members at a variety
of levels of commitment?
You should think about how many people your project could employ.
This is especially important when planning for the introductory
meeting, since you want new people to get involved. If you don’t
involve them, they won’t stick around long. There should be
a range of jobs, from light to heavy, to make it easy for new people
to get involved without signing their life away. Try to increase
each member’s level of commitment over time.
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Choosing Your Targets
The next step is identifying your campaign targets.
will help you determine the best target for your campaign
A target is the person(s) with the power to give you what
You cannot simply pressure the “powers that be” - there
must be a person that you’re asking to do something concrete.
Even if the power to give you what you want is an institution (e.g.,
the university or Dow), it’s important to personalize the
target. Identify who ultimately makes the decision within that institution
or, at least, who has the most influence over it. That individual
will be your target. By personalizing the target, you can take advantage
of the human responses of decision makers during your campaign -
ambition, guilt, fairness, fear, or vanity. These responses don’t
exist in institutions as a whole.
When attempting to identify your target(s) when planning a
campaign, start by asking the following questions:
..........• What individual or
group of individuals has the power to give you what you want?
..........• If it’s a group
of individuals, which specific individuals will you target to achieve
..........• What power do you
have over your target(s)?
..........• What reason might
the target(s) have to agree with you or oppose you?
Once you’ve identified your target, review your organizational
resources and those of your allies and determine what influence
you may hold over them. You may be able to convince your target
to support your position if you have sufficient influence; otherwise,
you’ll need to determine how to mobilize the power of your
members and allies against the vulnerabilities of the target and
pressure him or her to give you what you want.
If your group does not have any power or influence over your primary
target, you’ll need to identify a secondary target. A secondary
target is a person who can influence or has power over the primary
To identify secondary targets, ask yourself the following questions:
..........• Which individuals
can help you influence your primary targets?
..........• What is the nature
of the secondary targets’ power over the primary targets?
..........• Who in your group
or among your allies has pressure over the secondary target and
can influence them to pressure the primary target?
For instance, suppose you’re trying to get the CEO of Wombat
Invaders Inc. to stop selling baby formula that turns children into
wombats. Even if you can’t influence him or her, stockholders
can. Consumers can. The government can. If you’re trying to
influence the University President, what about students & faculty?
Alumni? Wealthy donors? Because unless you choose your targets strategically,
wombats will soon march all over the face of the earth. And no one
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Deciding On Your Strategy
You’ve chosen your campaign, defined your goals, and assessed
your campaign environment. Now it's time to devise your campaign
Strategy is a systematic set of tactics arranged to influence
a specific target towards a specific goal.
Use this chart
as you begin to map out your strategy (pdf)
It’s critical that you think strategically about your campaign
so that you’ll succeed in reaching the goals you want to see
When mapping out campaign strategy, you should start by answering
the following questions:
..........• Given the vulnerabilities
of our target(s), where should we concentrate our efforts (e.g.,
media attention, faculty support, alumni support, students, etc.)?
Feel free to choose more than one.
..........• What tactics might
we use to do so (e.g., resolutions, direct action, media stunts,
prominent endorsements, rallies, petition signatures, etc.)? Feel
free to choose more than one.
Keep your organizational strengths and weaknesses in mind. Don’t
bite off more than you can chew (for instance, a mass mailing to
alumni if you have $10 in your account) or concentrate your efforts
where your organization is weak (for instance, by organizing direct
actions without the proper training).
Are you a running a majority campaign or minority one? Majority
campaigns rely upon educating the majority of people to support
you in theory, whether or not they do it explicitly. If you want
to maintain mass support you’ll be limited in the tactics
you can choose – pouring red paint on the shoes of your college
President, for example, is bound to turn some folks off.
The alternative is to mobilize a small group of really committed
people and rely upon the neutrality or apathy of the masses. A minority
could exert substantial pressure by occupying a building, sitting
in trees threatened with logging, or holding weekly protests which
cause your target to negotiate (and/or give-in) just to get rid
of you. Generally majority campaigns are most successful. If you
do decide to use controversial tactics in a majority campaign, make
sure that folks understand what you’re doing and why it’s
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Choosing Your Tactics
Now that you have a sensible strategy in mind, you can choose your
Tactics serve your campaign plan by pressuring your target(s)
to give you what you want.
Acting out or implementing tactics are often people's favorite
part of a campaign. Unfortunately, as a result, many people neglect
the previous campaign planning steps and jump right to this point.
Not surprisingly, these campaign efforts often end up becoming a
disjointed collection of tactics lacking strategic coherency and
a real sense of how they’re working towards achieving the
..........• Fit into an overall
strategy. For example, if you’re trying to get faculty support
for your divestment/shareholder advocacy campaign, holding a call
in day to Dow, while fun, may not be the best way to go about it.
..........• Make sense to your
members and supporters. Don’t do something that your members
think is crazy.
..........• Be flexible and creative.
If your methods fit the same old patterns, you’ll get the
same old responses. If possible, do something that is outside the
experience of the target. Befuddle them if you can.
..........• Have follow-up built
in. How often have you done something, had fun doing it, and then
wondered where it got you? Each step should set you up for the next
one, just as a good pool player sets up for the next shot.
Consider the following when determining your tactics:
..........• Who are we trying
to influence with this tactic? How will it influence them?
..........• What kind of power
are we bringing into this situation? How are we applying it?
..........• How are we following
through? How does this tactic build our power for the next step?
You need to be clear on these things if your tactic is to have
any long-range impact. Is your rally to influence the public or
the administration? Will the media you get from it raise awareness
for an upcoming vote? Why should the President care about 100 students
on her front lawn anyway?
Follow-up is especially important. Are you demanding a meeting
and setting a deadline or just making some noise and walking away?
What will you do if they do nothing?
If you develop a goal for each tactical action, it’ll be
easier to assess your progress. For instance, rather than stating
that you’ll generate phone calls to your university president
and leaving it at that, state that you’ll generate 300 calls.
Tactical goals are really a type of short-term campaign goal and,
thus, can serve as benchmarks to measure the progress of your campaign
effort and to generate excitement among your membership at achieving
victories. Your group should celebrate these victories, however
small they might be, to encourage optimism and enthusiasm within
During your campaign, you should try to innovate so as to keep your
target guessing and worried, to maximize your power, to keep your
constituency interested and mobilized, to have fun, and to maximize
your press coverage. Innovation does not require brilliant ideas.
Most innovation is simply stealing an idea that worked at other
place or at another time but has not been done recently at your
school. At a school where activism is rare, holding a traditional
rally could count as innovation – you could be the first group
that school year to mobilize fifty people! Chalking on the sidewalks,
putting up several hundred dramatic posters, passing out leaflets,
or just writing a letter to the editor can all be radical innovative
acts at inactive schools. You might want to do something like have
twenty students sit-in at an office (either for a couple hours,
days, or weeks), get a thousand students to wear armbands, create
a tent city, sponsor a class boycott, or do another activity that
will catch people’s attention.
Tactic innovation has been a great boon to student movements whether
it was sitting-in at lunch counters to fight segregation, draft-card
burning, going on strike (as millions of students did in May 1970),
divesting from South African apartheid, occupying buildings (Ontario
students in 1997), sitting-in to oppose sweatshops, or putting on
a play (Vagina Monologues). Generally each new tactic, if it’s
a good idea, leads to a surge in activism.
You can also innovate in your forms of education. Perhaps you might
want to focus on a different aspect of the issue every week, so
that you appeal to different groups of people, your message stays
interesting, and you overwhelm your opposition and apathetic students
with reasons for why your issue matters.
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Developing Your Campaign
Now that you know what you want and who’s going to give it
to you, it’s necessary to develop your campaign message. A
campaign message or slogan is a short (10 words or less), clear,
and persuasive statement that is used in all campaign communications
(verbal or written) to deliver a quick and consistent description
of your campaign effort to the media, the public, potential allies,
and others. Campaign messages are very useful to ensure that the
primary target of your campaign is receiving a clear and consistent
demand regardless of the source of that communication. Keep in mind
the old saying that when you become physically ill at having to
repeat the campaign message for the umpteenth time, only then is
it finally starting to seep into the public's consciousness.
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Sometimes projects drag on with no real sense of progress. To avoid
this, draw up a timeline. This is simply a schedule for when you
expect to get things done.
This is especially important when preparing for things with definite
dates, like rallies and talks.
Think carefully about all things that need to get done and when
they need to get done by. At your meetings, decide on a reasonable
amount of time for assignments to get done. The items on the timeline
should be specific. For instance:
..........• 2/7 - Assign someone
to make a poster for the Toxic Buffet and get it printed.
..........• 2/14 - Hand out posters,
assign people to buildings and get them posted by the 17th.
..........• 2/19 - Deliver press
releases to local papers.
..........• 2/21 - Chow Down!
Look at the student calendar before you set a timeline. Be aware
of vacations, holidays, weather, major sports events, and so on.
Try to avoid conflict with other people’s meetings, events,
and exams. Also consider the student power cycle.
Student Power Cycle
The ability of student activists to mobilize supporters varies throughout
the student year due to turnover, academic pressure, holidays, weather,
student enthusiasm and other factors. The cycle that follows is
designed for colleges using a semester system.
At the beginning of the year student power is very low, because
of the long summer break and because of the loss of students who
have graduated, dropped-out, gone abroad, or changed their personal
priorities. However, students are in a good mood and ready to join
new activities or to reinvigorate their involvement in past ones.
Thus this is an excellent time to start a new group, launch a new
campaign, or reinvigorate an old one. Student power will quickly
build due to enthusiasm and good weather reaching a peak right before
mid-term exams. It will decline during exams and afterwards during
the fall break. However after this, student power will swiftly recover
and reach a peak that is as high or greater than the first fall
peak. A week or so before final exams, student power will sharply
decline and remain at negligible levels over winter break.
In the winter (or spring) semester, student power will not recover
as quickly as during the fall because of the cold weather which
discourages outdoor activism and the lesser enthusiasm of the returning
students whose winter vacation was shorter than that of the summer.
However, as student activists have been educating, agitating, and
recruiting for several months, as the semester progresses and the
weather improves, student power will hit a strong peak before midterm
exams. It will decline sharply during spring break, but return to
achieve its highest potential of the entire school year. If you
want to maximize your chance of success, you should plan to have
your largest mobilizations during this peak in March or April. Finally,
student power will decline as final exams and summer approach.
This is a general approximation of how student power changes over
time. Other holidays (such as Thanksgiving and Easter) may have
a significant negative impact. Also sports games or school-specific
events (like a Parents or Siblings weekend) can also hurt. Students
are affected differently by this cycle, for instance graduate students
who do not have course work may still be able to work very hard
at the end of the semester.
If you can control the timeline (often timelines are determined
or partially determined by external factors like an administration’s
actions), it makes sense to structure a campaign so that the final
peak of your movement is in March/April. That is when you demonstrate
your support and have your final showdown with your administration.
It makes sense that you do not want to put all your energy into
winning in January or February, if it reduces your chance of success
and if it means that you could be stuck with a couple months at
the end of the school year during which you will not have enough
time to restructure and redo your campaign or to start another one.
You do not want to start a campaign only to lose most of its momentum
over the summer break.
In the case of a very hard campaign, you might want to find a secondary
goal that will put you on the path to your real goal and to try
and achieve this secondary goal in March/April. Or if the campaign
is not so hard, you might strive for your secondary goal in October
or November, and the real win in March/April. If the campaign is
easy, you could try to win it all in one semester. Although you
don’t have to structure your timeline to perfectly fit this
energy cycle, you should keep it in mind and use it when it could
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Managing Your Resources
The last component of campaign planning is to manage your resources.
Funding and volunteers will probably be your biggest concern. Quite
simply, after you’ve determined what your goals, strategies,
and tactics will be, calculate how much the campaign will cost your
group and develop a campaign budget.
Lastly, just like with funding, you should assess how many volunteers
you’ll need to help you run this campaign. Even if your current
membership is large enough to run your campaign, make one of your
organizational goals to recruit
more members. Also, consider how you can use this campaign as
a way to train your members in new skills and build group leadership.
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Generally, campaigns go through several phases:
nicely. You try to meet with the people who can make the
change you want and either can’t get a meeting or you’re
rebuffed. (This is an exercise that you must go through in order
to be able to say later that you tried the “just ask them
and they’ll listen” approach and it didn’t work.)
& Action. These go hand-in-hand. You educate people
about the problem and try to gain mass support by holding rallies,
using petitions, holding public hearings, flyering students on campus,
writing letters-to-the-editor of the campus paper, bringing in speakers,
A simplistic strategy for winning a campaign would be to divide
your time into two phases. During the first phase you’d tell
everyone about the problem (education), and in the second you‘d
engage in action that would mobilize everyone - and then you’d
However, you’ll need a more complex strategy to maximize
your chances of success – one that recognizes the need to
integrate action and education into the same phases. First you should
do initial research about the issue so that you have your facts
straight (note: you should continue to do research as the campaign
progresses). Keep in mind that while you may start your campaign
by focusing on research and education, if you don’t move quickly
to a combined action and education phase, you’ll risk demobilizing
your supporters. Many people will rightfully suspect that a group
with a purely educational campaign that relies upon making moral
or rational appeals to a powerful elite is deluding itself! These
folks will either join another organization that has a better strategy
or stay away from activism.
Thus from the beginning of your campaign, you’ll want it
to be clear that you’ll engage in a campaign that will rock
your school and/or community with ACTION. Your movement will be
mobilizing hundreds of people, building and demonstrating power,
and that’s why you have a good chance of winning.
The Dow Grim
The powerful tonic for success combines action with education.
You have action to mobilize people, to demonstrate your power, to
keep things exciting, and to show that you mean “business”.
Meanwhile you constantly incorporate education into your campaign.
At first your educational goal is simply to demonstrate that there
is a PROBLEM to a modest sized group of students. Bad stuff is going
down and you have a realistic means of tackling it. You should get
enough supporters so that you can engage in major actions, such
as rallies, without being embarrassed by a lack of attendance.
As your campaign progresses, you’ll be able to expand the
reach of your educational activities from beyond targeting the usual
suspects (progressive students and organizations) to finding ways
of involving students who might normally be moderate, apathetic,
or even conservative. If your issue is being debated all over the
student newspaper, on the walls and sidewalks of your school with
posters and chalk, by speakers, and in leafleting, protests, and
other actions – then students who’d normally avoid getting
involved will become interested.
In addition, as your campaign progresses and grows your members
will be better prepared to educate others. They shall be able to
provide both a simple argument that will convince most people why
you’re correct, as well as a lengthier analysis of how this
issue is connected to other issues and how your goal is a small
step in a larger movement to create lasting change. It’ll
become obvious to everyone on campus that your group really knows
After you’ve shown your strength your target should be more
willing to negotiate. However, they’ll probably stall. If
so, you’ll need to escalate. You may want to do so by using
traditional institutions like student government and faculty senate
to gather legitimacy for your cause. You may also want to demonstrate
that the masses are on your side with a rally or a petition. If
you’re still being denied, you may want to do a referendum,
one or more mass demonstrations, or ultimately consider civil disobedience
(such as a sit-in).
On the other hand, there are times when you may not want to enter
a cycle of endless escalation. In some situations it can be strategic
to take a step back. For instance, if it appears that your target
is granting serious consideration to your demands, you might want
to reduce your level of confrontation and give them a chance to
change their position. You don’t want to make it extremely
difficult for them to grant your demands. At the same time, you
don’t want to completely withdraw pressure – as they
may just be stalling for time.
or lose. If you don't win, you should step back and reevaluate
If you’ve won, it is time to celebrate your victory, perhaps
analyze your achievements and failures, and to move on to the next
campaign. If you are about to win a campaign, you may want to start
small actions against similar targets to which your campaign could
be extended. For instance, if you are working for a wage increase
you could target additional employers in your community.
What do you do if you didn’t win? Perhaps you simply had to
fight the good fight in the hopes that your activism will lead to
a future win, or that by fighting you’ll educate students
about an important issue (like corporate accountability) while training
yourself and your fellow group members how to organize campaigns.
Perhaps you underestimated the opposition and overestimated how
much students would care about the issue. If this is the case, then
you might want to try another campaign
where you can mobilize more people and may have a better chance
If you decide to stick with the same campaign, then you should
analyze what needs to be done better.
Be careful to avoid non-strategic escalation and martyring yourself
for this cause. You may find this particularly appealing if you
are about to graduate and you feel that this is the last chance
for your movement to succeed. However, a tiny group of people engaging
in extremely radical action may alienate your supporters and destroy
any chance your campaign has of success. If you cannot convince
the upcoming leaders/continuing members in your group to continue
with the campaign, it may be for the best and they may know something
that you do not.
On the other hand, if your group decides to continue with the campaign
there are several things to consider. Perhaps you timed your campaign
to peak too early and should have waited for March or April to pull
off your largest action. Or it is likely that you will need to build
a larger coalition to bring in more people to support you and then
to mobilize these people in a mass, low risk action like a traditional
rally, and also to engage in higher-risk forms of activity like
a sit-in. Your strategy may have failed because you failed to organize
enough people (a question of “width”) or because you
failed to get them involved enough (a question of “depth”).
To solve the width issue you might need a systematic education campaign
that could mean doing presentations to as many classes as possible
(Indiana University No Sweat did presentations to thousands of students
before they met with their administration), canvassing the dorms
to talk to people individually, holding meetings in each dorm or
on each floor of each dorm (students at Macalester did this for
their anti-sweatshop campaign). To solve the depth issue you might
want to create a direct action planning group to organize a sit-in
or other dramatic action at the peak of the student power cycle.
Even just leaking the threat of such an event may be enough to push
your target to agree to your demands (For instance by collecting
a list of students who would be willing to engage in a sit-in).
During the anti-sweatshop movement due to the large number of sit-ins
at other schools, administrators knew that if they did not cooperate
with student activists at their school that their student activists
might do a sit-in.
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Troubles - And Avoiding Them
Little, Too Late
"Our project got started too late in the semester, and we didn't
have time to do what we wanted." Many projects don't get underway
until halfway through the term when everyone's schedules are more
hectic. This may be due to student procrastination, but is sometimes
the fault of schedules imposed by the teacher. Time shortages plague
most projects, so start as early as possible.
on the Vine
"We got off to a great start, but then things kind of fell
apart." Many projects have a high-energy, promising beginning
but wither away by the end of the semester. It's easy to let exams,
papers, and a lively social life eat up your time. Plus, projects
take steady, diligent work. It is one thing to write up a great
project plan but quite another to carry it out. Set a brisk but
manageable pace early, and keep checking your progress against the
list of tasks that lie ahead.
I Left a Message . . ."
"I left two emails and a voice-mail message and am waiting
to hear from them." A common situation is when a student needs
to make a critical contact and the person is not in. So they leave
a message on the person's answering machine, or send an email, and
then wait -- sometimes for weeks. In voice mail, sometimes hitting
"0" will ring through to a secretary or someone else.
Call the person's department, see if they are around, ask for the
best times to call, be creative in getting to phones on campus.
At First You Don't Succeed…
"I called this guy and he said our idea can't be done."
Sometimes students are told their project will never work, or it
will take too much time, or "I'm too busy to help." And
in one instance, a student was told he had to get permission for
his idea from the chancellor, when all it really took was approval
from a mid-level employee. As in any workplace, some people strongly
resist change. Work with your staff or faculty client, or other
friendly contacts, who can open doors for you. Check with different
people at different levels to see if there is a way something can
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Story: A Fun Shared Vision Exercise by Idealist on Campus
With Men In Ties by Daniel Hunter
Student Power Cycle by Aaron Kreider
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