Executive Summary & Rationale
The purpose of this campaign is to recruit more students and community members to engaged in local and national activism. This is needed because of the privileged and educated position that GMC students are positioned. Several outstanding issues require our concern and attention. Club Activism serves an important role of organizing and serving selected outstanding issues. Club Activism is (or should be) able to transcend traditional boundaries that prohibit and slow down other clubs that prevent high membership. This will be completed by conducting and orchestrating a unified campaign across at least four media channels including: email, local printed media, events & in-person canvassing, and printed matter to include fliers.
New objectives for next semester:
1) Gain more membership by leading by example. AKA- represent the club well on campus and continue to work on big issues.
2) Focus on local issues that need our attention. (UGL outsourcing, livable wades, staff and faculty cuts, equal educational opportunities).
3) Spend the club budget with intentionality that will keep the club going in a forward trajectory.
Involving the Poultney area is where the below objectives of this project failed.:
1) Mobilize and organize a contingent of people from the Poultney area to engage with and take action with various causes of a social, environmental, and political nature.
2) Lay groundwork for better communication strategies and community engagement in the Poultney area.
3) Effectively build consensus around multiple plains of interest and activism to provide resources for and an arena for active engagement.
People & Partners
SDS, Earth First!, 350.org, Tar Sans Action Network, Sierra Club, Vermont ISO, and Mountain Justice. Others are welcome, but not established at this point.
Essentially, my good friends mixed with some other great students:
Scott Chernoff; Co-Facilitator of Club Activism and Tar Sans Action Network contact
(New Advisor??) Sarah Mittlefehldt; NRM Professor, GMC
Beth Clark; Current Club Activism Advisor
Rachel Emus, GMC Alumni interested in engaging us in larger projects
Calvin Linder; Radical GMC Student
Amy Yates; Radical GMC Student
Hanah Weller; Radical GMC Student
Karah Johnston; Radical GMC Student
Sarah Fitch; Radical GMC Student
Mike; International Socialist Organization, Burlington VT
Connor Magnuson; Sierra Club Contact, Radical GMC Student
Henry Feder; Earth First! Contact, Radical GMC Student
Ian Barnum; Radical
Paul Hancock; Radical Economics Professor, GMC
Eleanor Tison; Anthropology Contact
Amber Garrard; Former Club Activism Advisor
Jurassica McClusky; Former Club Activism Co-Facilitator
Elana Israel; Former Clun Activism Co-Facilitator
Deborah Deluca; Radical GMC Student
Strategy & Story
The next steps include building the club up and organizing on local issues. UGL appreciation week last year is one goal many have shared interest in. Mainly, the club needs to host more events and mobilize on local issues. A Poultney assembly is one club member’s delicate project that will take place next semester with the club’s help. MLK day is also of concern for the club as we will we facilitating teach-ins and with faculty support, a walk out or no class to be held.
Club Activism serves as a way GMC students may express themselves. Through loose sponsorship from the school, the club is able to operate and focus on any issue it chooses. Seeing the way some other schools function with organized activism can be somewhat discouraging because it seems that GMC is too apathetic. But when you consider the accomplishments of this semester and all that the club has to look forward to next semester, hope can be revitalized.
Technologies & Channels
E-mail – In my opinion, this is one of the best way to reach the GMC community. Sure, some people make a point to ignore e-mail or avoid checking it, but they are cutting themselves off from important information. E-mail is fast, cheep, effective, and wide-reaching.
Local printed media – The Mountaineer, Green Mountain College’s student newspaper published an article I helped write about GMC students getting involved with the pipeline demos. In the article we plugged Club Activism in an effort to further the campaign. The article got the attention of Kevin Colburn, GMC’s communications department director and provoked him to make it the top story on a GMC Bulletin e-mail that goes out to current GMC community and alumni. Not particularly measurable if it helped, but it’s a lot better than not mentioning it to anyone.
Events & in-person canvassing – Movie screenings and online video conferences help recruit new members because it offers more than a confusing working lunch meeting. Furthermore, they provide entertainment, a key component in how student decide to participate in events. The two events were missing food, the other biggest component for getting people to show up. That will be fixed next semester.
Printed matter to include fliers – The poster has remained posed around campus since being hung up. The poster invites people to scan the QR code and take action by joining other student organizers. This poster is also being displayed on the Withey TV above the fire place. Most people see new posters that are displayed on the screen because of the screen’s central location in the student union.
Club activism does not have a single logo as of yet, so branding is not possible. The name of the club itself serves to connect a common message. In past years, the club has been much more eclectic and messages may not have seemed as unified. The diversity in advertising methods helped convey the message that the club is active and making a difference with its activities.
You asked: “What new things will you do or new tools will you utilize to mobilize beyond the campus?” My Answer: Only to a certain degree do online methods work. As the culture and student climate change and fluctuate, it’s become apparent that many are apathetic or not willing to the step into this type of organized activism.
I have had large success asking for money and receiving it from Student Senate. If this campaign mobilizes more people, Student Senate is more likely to increase funding and support it. As it stands, Club Activism receives $500 for their budget, a bit more than most other clubs. But with the combination of other interested, nonofficial clubs, that $500 could disappear quickly. So it is important to get as many voices in as possible.