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OFA's first annual Campus Organizing Summit

Earlier this month, 35 campus-based activists from all across the country came together at OFA headquarters in Chicago for the first-ever Campus Organizing Summit.
The Campus Organizing Summit is part of a series of issue-focused trainings, which throughout this year have provided organizers with opportunities to expand their networks, problem solve challenges, and develop new skills—while strengthening the pipeline of organizing talent in the progressive world.

At the Campus Organizing Summit, participants kicked off the day by sharing their experiences and challenges back home, and exchanged ideas to help improve the impact of their work. In true OFA style, this training summit went beyond conversation—students had to put their newly developed skills into action. In an innovative three-hour “Lobby Games” simulation, students had to apply what they had learned in order to effectively build issue advocacy campaigns. Their ultimate goal: to persuade key decision makers in their communities.
Students worked with OFA training coaches to analyze a fictional failed campus issue campaign. Through these exercises, students learned the different pieces that make up a campaign—and more importantly, they became familiar with the idea that organizing never happens in a vacuum. “I had never really had one term to define all of the things surrounding organizing,” said Anna from the University of Arizona, as she shared her experience learning about issue ecosystems.

After learning to develop a campus issue campaign to persuade key decision makers, students put that plan into practice in order to implement their strategies, build coalitions, and lobby a fictional university's president and Board of Trustees.
Destiny from the University of California at Berkeley said she learned that lobbying is a powerful tool for social change, and loved the opportunity to be able to practice it. Lauryn from Northwestern University shared that she "really enjoyed being around other people my age who are passionate about organizing as well."

Here's what some of the other participants had to say:
Although it's not always easy, it's important for organizers to use each other as valuable resources and to set aside the time to keep learning. These campus organizers came from all over the country to learn from one another, but you can join them in taking action, too.

Get in touch with organizers from across the country by joining Connect, OFA's community organizing tool.


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