How do you build a movement that can lay the groundwork for the world we want tomorrow? It requires listening to people on campus and in your community, building allies, and fighting for shared goals. It’s also about learning from those on the front-lines of experiencing struggles and offering practical solidarity. It combines working towards specific and tangible campaign goals today, with skills training to build movements with strong leadership and that are deeply democratic and accessible. You, as potential or current campaigners, are part of this movement. You build it through creating links, running societies and campaigns groups and working with other groups locally, nationally and globally for the change you want to see.
Learn about the experiences of others, notice who has the loudest voice in your organising circles, make space for those that don’t, build alliance, and reflect on your goals. Let’s work together and build power beyond privilege for social, political, economic, and ecological justice.
All good campaigns start with a strong team. One person with good arguments does not make a campaign. Being a catalyst for change also means bringing other people along with you. So, get recruiting:
- Set up a Freshers’ stall and recruit new members to your team. Remember that there will be plenty of other clubs and societies who will want to recruit new students so make sure that your stand stands out from the crowd, include a petition or action that people can do at the stall, and they’ll be more likely to get involved.
- Get together with friends and others passionate for social change. Once you’ve done that, send emails to other groups on campus, make announcements at meetings of related groups or before lectures, and put up posters in key places with meeting information. Then, follow-up in person with people who get back to you. Get to know them: a one-on-one conversation is your most effective tool!
- Joining a new group can be intimidating, especially if your culture, class, race, gender, or identity feels unwelcome or under-represented in the group. Campaign spaces need to be inclusive of all people. Campaigns are most effective when they bring a large, diverse number of people together in support of an issue. Why not reach out to groups on campus organising around other forms of social justice or hold similar values to you to see if you can work together? Think outside the box on who to invite. A diversity of experiences and opinions makes a group stronger
- Building your team is not just about mobilising students, but also about taking time to socialise, getting to know each other and having fun. Make sure when you’re getting people to join that you tell them you have fun team socials. People will be much more inclined to be part of your team if they’re likely to have a good time doing it.
Think about how to run your meetings e.g. faciliation, how to set an agenda, and STICK TO TIME. Ensure participatory decision making. Set roles, but let these be flexible – make sure to share, and think about organising yourselves into pairs or ‘buddies’ for better support and vital skill-sharing. Buddies can meet between meetings and raise any issues or concerns between meetings.
Consider using digital tools to organise, like Slack (a multi-channel messaging platform, easy to split up into working groups etc.), Trello (basically digital cork boards, often used to keep track of campaigns and assign tasks), Facebook (private groups can be useful and most people use it, although consider security issues and those without), and email (although often responses are slower and rarer).