How To Make Action On Your Campus For Dummies!

By Caitlin Dally, University of San Francisco, REC student organizer



Up to Bank Transfer Day I was working like a dog, organizing the student body at USF to move their money and consider the same for USF’s endowment and operating account.  I quickly realized that the students who I was working with needed an action to mobilize around, something which would unite them in this cause.  And thus began our mission impossible themed action which went from fairly unorganized and to a successful action in a matter of days.  I realized there were basically five steps to what made our action successful and can help empower others across the movement.

1.) Make a game plan

I know it sounds like a sporting practice or a campaign-planning meeting, but I kid you not, planning works.  While making the plan you have to consider who your audience is, what your message is, and what you and your cohort is capable of creating in the limited amount of time you may have.  Our group decided that we would be able to flier and write messages with chalk on the sidewalks of every entrance to USF.  We also had been working on maintaining a message around the Bank of America ATMs at USF.  It was important for us to show what students can do to change their banks, why they should change their banks, and to inspire those to look further into where their money goes individually and collectively.

2.) Create a Facebook event

Facebook is so great for organizers! I don’t really know what college would be like without Facebook; I don’t know what organizing would be like without Facebook.  We have all become incredibly reliant upon Facebook as a resource to communicate.

At the click of a button we are able to reach out to the masses.

3.) Decide upon time and place

Through your Facebook event ask the others, who possibly may be involved, what times work in following days.  We started a discussion of where and when we should meet and made sure we had all of each other’s cell numbers.  Our conclusion was to meet in front of St. Ignatius Church (pictured above) at 8pm and launch our stealthy action from there.

4.) Find funds

You probably want to figure this out earlier in the plan, but for our action, we needed money and fast, but it was for very basic costs, printing fliers, and buying tape for the fliers and chalk.  Together, we creatively used any/all recycling bottles we could find in the week prior to our action and were able to pay for the printing with recycled bottles.  With the chalk we each put in less than a dollar to cover the other costs, which I think helped show that everyone was invested – literally.

5.) TAKE ACTION!

Finally it was 8pm last Thursday before Bank Transfer Day.  We all dressed in black and began posting any open space on campus.  Whether bathrooms, the wall around the construction site on USF, or in spaces where public positing in acceptable (although the posts need approval from the posting authorities) we wanted our message to be heard: move your money, break up with Bank of America and make a vote with your money.  Two students covered their faces with their scarves and plastered the ATMs on campus with our messages, overflowing the receipt dispenser with fliers.  People were chalking the sidewalks and entryways to campus although we were a little weary we would see them the next morning because of the rain that was looming towards us.

Inevitably there were still students on campus and faculty still on campus. This was a great benefit to us because they wanted to know more about the movement.  One of the members in our cohort met a student working in the sociology department who is holding a forum on the Occupy movement and wanted our involvement in the forum.

Taking action creates more action.  And it’s not that hard, even a dummy can do it!

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