Set Activism Goals and Keep the Pressure On
Effort is admirable. Achievement is valuable. Conservative student activists can measure success only if they set concrete activism goals for their club.
“Posturing or irritating your opponents is not activism. True activism involves tangible policy changes from your actions that benefit your side and derail and delegitimize your political opponents,“ said LI’s Campus Reform Communications Director Tim Dionisopoulos. Tim helps successful activists share their achievements with the media and the conservative blogosphere.
One such successful activist is Nick Kowalski, who recently accomplished his activism goal when Michigan State University (MSU) overturned “Simon Care,” the university’s mandatory health insurance program for students.
Nick’s activism goal was clear and attainable. He set out to end Simon Care.
But you can’t beat a plan with no plan. The students developed an activism strategy to achieve their gaol.
Nick’s Campus Conservatives, the MSU College Republicans, and the Students for Life at MSU began their activism by sending MSU President Lou Simon a certified letter challenging the policy. “It is not the role of the university administration to dictate the health care of students,” the letter read.
The conservative students didn’t stop with the letter. Nick kept his eye on his goal and followed Saul A
linksy’s Rules for Radicals Rule #8 “Keep the Pressure On.”
Nick’s coalition pressured MSU Trustee Melanie Foster to oppose the method that Simon Care was implemented, and Foster criticized the university administration for not bringing the matter to a vote of the Board of Trustees. The conservative coalition also got the state legislature involved. State Representative Bob Genetski, for instance, publically oppos
ed the measure: “It sounds like the early onset of Obamacare and I don’t know that it’s their right to put it in.”
Nick wrote about Simon Care on LI’s Campus Reform website and the College Conservative blog, and conservatives wrote several op-eds opposing Simon Care.
Finally, after Nick appeared on a conservative talk radio show and organized a phone-in campaign to the university president, the university administration discontinued Simon Care.
Keep your eye on the main chance and don’t stop to kick every barking dog. Nick’s commitment to overturning Simon Care achieved a tangible win for conservatives.
It’s important for your student group to pick one or two specific activism goals. Your activism goals might take more than one year to accomplish, but in order for your group to have an impact on culture and politics, you should see the goals through to completion.
One-day campus events not part of the larger activism goal can be beneficial for recruitment and introducing conservatives to activism; however, your campus events should typically advance your larger activism goal.
Remember it’s a long ball game. The Texas Aggie Conservatives (TAC) fought institutional funding and viewpoint discrimination for several years at Texas A&M. Their activism goal spanned over several generations of student leaders.
Last week, TAC and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit last week against Texas A&M University (TAMU). The suit challenges the school’s badly biased fund-allocation policy for student organizations.
This past Spring, TAC requested funds for an on campus speaking event with conservative speaker Star Parker. Administrators denied TAC’s request and claimed funds "cannot be approved for recognized organizations with a classification of social and political issues."
After the event, TAC Chairman Marc Pitts investigated funds provided by TAMU administrators to other social and political groups on campus.
Marc discovered TAMU administrators had previously allocated funds to the NAACP, Muslim Student Association, Black Student Alliance, and TAMU V-Day.
TAC used Saul Alinsky’s Rule #4 “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules” in order to ensure equal treatment.
You can be among the most successful conservative activists by setting and achieving an activism goal. Research your university and be aware of local liberal abuses. Set a measurable activism goal to expose and correct a leftist abuse. You can be successful like Nick was at ending Simon Care.
Contact the Leadership Institute’s Campus Leadership Program for help setting and accomplishing your activism goal.