OFA campus organizers are building the future of organizing

By Kevin Lane, Campus Programs Manager

OFA is committed to defending the progress we’ve made over the past eight years and growing this movement for the long term. Now more than ever, it’s time for us to do what we do best — organize and train.

This movement — and the incredible people behind it — are part of a long line of those who stand up to take on the big fights for progress. We speak out for basic fairness, equal rights, and expanding opportunity, not simply for ourselves, but for our neighbors, families, and the benefit of our nation as a whole.

As a part of those fights, OFA is committed to training the next generation of organizers and community leaders. Students, in particular, play a crucial role in pushing for progressive change and moving our country forward. So, on November 19, OFA hosted its second campus organizing summit to do just that. We had an amazing group: 27 campus leaders from 19 different campuses across 11 states joined us in Miami, FL, for the day.

OFA Campus Organizing Summits bring together campus organizers who want to take their organizing skills to the next level. In Miami, students learned what it takes to build a successful issue campaign, how to form an efficient strategy, and how to inspire other students to take action. Cecilia C. from the University of Nevada — Reno talked about how she benefited from a curriculum that combined real-world examples with a hypothetical case study, gaining practical skills that she will take back with her to campus. “I learned how to successfully organize proposals and how to implement change on campus,” she said. “I definitely see myself applying these skills in the future.”

Summit attendees were also fortunate to have four OFA volunteer leaders join the summit. These veteran organizers drew on their extensive experience to guide students on effective organizing strategies and tactics. Students were able to take advantage of first-hand knowledge and mentorship from these community leaders, and everyone benefited from the time spent brainstorming and collaborating.

A key takeaway for all summit attendees was the importance of building coalitions with other on- and off-campus groups. Attendees learned the value in working productively with partner groups to establish measurable goals, devise realistic strategies, and carry out relevant tactics.

“This weekend, I learned the importance of networking and building coalitions on campus with groups who share similar missions. I plan on using the tools I gained this weekend to grow a larger network of students on Berkeley’s campus, who share my passion for addressing the unique challenges women of color face in the education system and in the work force.” — Eileen O., University of California — Berkeley

As I look back on the successes of the summits that we’ve hosted this year, I can’t help but be proud of the work that OFA is doing to bring together future leaders and train, empower, and mobilize them to make a real difference in their communities. I spend a lot of time engaging with these students and future leaders, and I could not be more optimistic about the future, given the talent and passion that I witness on a daily basis.

Energizing these change-makers and giving them the right tools to make a lasting difference in their communities is how I support OFA’s mission — and together, we will grow and sustain this movement.

If you’re interested, or you know someone else who might be a great campus organizer — stay up-to-date with OFA’s future training programs by signing up below.

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And check out more photos of the summit in the slideshow below!

Originally published at www.ofa.us.