Or, to a table in your student union. Reserve a table, make some signs, and set up a laptop. Ask activists to send a quick email to a targeted elected official about your issue. If you’d like, we can help you create talking points to help in crafting the messages.
Social networking for social change
Create a Facebook page for your campus group and invite your friends, classmates, and co-workers to join. It’s a free and easy way to spread the word about your group.
A rally is a great way to get your members and others on campus excited about a particular cause. You can have food, music, games, and literature tables to attract a crowd. Decide on a theme and then partner with other campus and community groups to help with the planning and financing. You might need permits from your school, so be sure to plan well in advance.
Need help thinking of an idea? An OSU campus group, along with its partners, hosted an “Immigration Celebration” rally, complete with t-shirts, food, games, and music. They set up tables with large posters and sheets of paper for people to draw out what immigration means to them.
Tell government officials what you think
Sign up for ACLU of Ohio action alerts to stay informed about the most recent legislation affecting civil liberties. After hearing about proposed regulations that would dramatically limit women’s access to birth control, one campus group collected and faxed 400 letters to their senators urging action against the regulations.
Not sure what to say or who to say it to? Find your state legislators, U.S. senators, and U.S. representatives. Then, use these tips to help write your legislators. You can increase your impact by setting up a table in the student union or another crowded area and helping other students write their own letters. Just remember that their legislators may vary depending on where they live and register to vote.
Write a letter to the editor
Have members write a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper about a timely civil liberties topic or campus issue. Find some tips for getting your letter published here.
Host a civil liberties career panel
Many of your campus club members or classmates are probably unsure of what they want to do after graduation. Show them how they can continue to advocate after they graduate – and get paid for it – with a panel of professionals who work to protect civil liberties. Your panel could include non-profit workers, attorneys, government officials, or professors. If you’d like to include an ACLU representative, you can request a speaker here.
Train your members
Do all of your members know how to write a letter to the editor? Or find out who represents them in the Ohio General Assembly? Learning to work with elected officials and the media is important for advocacy now and after graduation. Your campus group can prepare activists for future advocacy by planning a workshop to teach these and other basic skills. Professors and other staff at your university may be able to help conduct a training session, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for our assistance. As always, be sure to invite members or leadership from other groups!
If you’re not sure your members would be interested in a media or lobby training, you could always run a workshop on how to organize or publicize meetings. Many universities have forms or special processes for reserving meeting space, posting events to the campus calendar, or gaining permission to flier on campus billboards. Teaching your members these skills now will prepare them to assume leadership positions later.