It’s August! That means college students are dragging their feet back to campus and our campus organizers are getting back on the ground. At FMF’s East Coast office, we welcomed four new campus organizers over the summer: three travelling do-it-all regional organizers and one media maven who’ll be working on the web to keep campus leaders on top of the major issues affecting their communities.
The new team members introduced themselves last week at the Feminist Campus blog and shared their organizing tips and tricks. Here’s a sneak-peek. (Click their names to check out the full pieces!)
Edwith Theogene: Southern States & HBCUs
Besides having a flair for the comedic, I am a recent graduate of Florida International University. I was there for ten years on and off, so I can’t really say that it was necessarily the best time of my life because it was basically my whole life. I will say this though: it was a great experience. I blossomed late with my involvement in grassroots organizing but I was able to intern with various local social service and advocacy community groups and become heavily involved within my own campus Feminist movements over that time. Since FIU is predominantly a commuter school within a huge metropolitan setting, we were able to work on a variety of campaigns and connect any sort of campus activism with local community efforts; that made me realize how important networking and coalition-building are in this movement.
Madeline (Maddie) Barnett: Mid-West States
At the risk of sounding extremely cheesy, we need conductors to orchestrate the efforts of all of the musicians so that they can play together in harmony: although the “invisible” part of organizing doesn’t always come with instant gratification, it helps ensure the long term endurance of the feminist movement and provides the leg work and orchestration behind many important grassroots efforts. This work has made me a better organizer because I understand the planning and development that has gone into any trainings I participate in, rallies I attend, or materials used to fundraise, recruit, or implement a campaign. I have even developed a better understand of the media campaigns or press conferences of organizations and politicians. These efforts aren’t just something to “like” or “share;” they are an important part of maintaining a feminist presence and keeping others involved, aware, and invested.
Kristy Birchard: Mid-Atlantic and Northeast States
I didn’t have the words for it until I was 16, but I took pride in being smart. I recognized that it was something a lot of people didn’t expect, especially from someone so quiet. As a teenage girl in the tech world, I often felt that my help was undervalued; I wasn’t expected to be good with computers and I didn’t like forcing myself to tell people that I was. Now, my 22-year-old self is the result of years forcing myself out of my comfort zone: sticking up for myself, asking questions, and asking for help. I’m still an introvert; and I like that. I’ve learned to speak up when I feel it’s necessary but I don’t have to change who I am to appease anyone. That’s the most important thing that feminism has taught me.
Carmen Rios: Online Community Organizer
My use of the Internet to network and share content didn’t seem like a revolution, but indeed it was: though feminist leaders didn’t need my help writing organizational strategy, they sure as hell needed someone to blog about it for them. My basic knowledge of HTML was like a golden egg I could bring to every interview; my capability to quickly post to various networks in my organization’s unique voice equated to the sound of a sealing envelope. I didn’t recognize until after about two years of working for campaigns and organizations like THE LINE, Hollaback!, and even the FMF (as a wee college freshman!) that I was creating the future of the movement I’d pledged to work in for the rest of my life – now, it’s merely the present and I’m playing my own part. Now, I’m a prolific D-list Internet celebrity who writes regularly for Autostraddle and PolicyMic and edits the blog of THE LINE Campaign. (Because once an intern, always an intern.)