Organizer Spotlight: Alejandro
By Kevin Lane, Campus Programs Manager
Not all college experiences are created equal. I honestly thought I was pretty involved as an undergrad, having been a member of the debate team and a volunteer at a local hospital. But when I look back at my own experience and compare it to some of the things OFA campus organizers are doing around the country, I’m blown away.
Meet Alejandro, for example.
As a senior at the University of Iowa (and a double business major!), Alejandro could’ve chosen an easy schedule that would allow him to relax during his last year of college. Instead, he chose a harder but more fulfilling path. He made the choice to get more involved, to try to make a difference in his community — to become an organizer.
Alejandro first got involved with OFA by attending a campus organizing summit in San Francisco, where he joined students from more than 20 campuses to work on important issues and learn the ins and outs of advocacy and organizing.
During these campus summits, students learn what it takes to build a successful issue-focused advocacy campaign, different ways to inspire fellow students to take action, and how to form an organizing strategy that will make a lasting impact. The summit’s agenda is designed to give students the knowledge, skills, and resources to create an issue-focused campaign on their own campus. OFA trainers combine real-world examples with hypothetical case studies where students can research, plan, and present a detailed campaign strategy of their own. Alejandro’s clear passion for organizing stood out, as he led his fellow students to fully engage with each other — to participate and share their own thoughts throughout the summit.
“I think the summit really provided us with a clearer process for change. Whether it’s coming up with a very specific and measurable goal that you can implement for your issue, or the process of strategically growing your movement into something bigger; understanding the types of resources you need, people you should contact, and support you should build. All of these things help turn your issue into a meaningful mission with clear goals, clear guidelines, and clear end results.” — Alejandro
Feeling fired up after the campus organizing summit and looking for next steps (like a true organizer), Alejandro enrolled in OFA’s Campus Organizing Academy, a semester-long online training program designed for students interested in driving progressive change on campus. In the fall 2016 program, Alejandro joined students from 18 different campuses all over the country looking to improve their organizing knowledge and skills. Participants joined monthly training webinars, had one-on-one mentorship calls with OFA staff, and learned how to utilize resources for campus organizing.
Through his one-on-one conversations with OFA mentors, Alejandro has been able to develop a plan for starting a new student magazine on campus that is focused on keeping young adults and students engaged in politics and social issues beyond the major election cycles. His goal for the magazine is to focus on highlighting progressive efforts and innovative strategies that student leaders are building in the push for progress on important issues. After graduation, he plans to continue this work by pursuing a career in nonprofit investigative journalism. I, for one, cannot wait to see where his passion and newfound organizing skills will lead.
If, like me, you’re feeling inspired by Alejandro’s story — or if 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.
Originally published at www.ofa.us.