||Erin Matson, Action Vice President
Anita Lederer, Field Organizer
Welcome Back to Campus
Welcome back, student leaders! Classes, friends, and activism -- a fun semester awaits you. Now that you're back on campus, it's time to hit the ground running with NOW Campus Action Networks (CANs), our campus feminist groups that work on a variety of issues, from reproductive rights to the Love Your Body campaign.
For everything you may need, from CAN manuals to sample actions, check out our NOW on Campus section on our site.
Fall is a great time to get your CAN active. The radical right is trying to take away your right to vote, your birth control and your right to choose. Women are still being paid less. The media continue to use unrealistic images of women. Your CAN can make a difference in your school, community and state, and this newsletter offers ideas on how you can advance equality and opportunity for women on campus and beyond.
In this Newsletter:
» Election 2012: Your Vote is Needed!
» Love Your Body Day
» Recruit New Feminists
Your Vote is Your Voice - Vote Nov. 6
Tuesday, Nov. 6, will determine the direction of our country. The rights of women, communities of color and young people hang in the balance. The outcome of this election matters, and it is critical to get everyone on campus out to vote this November. Here are seven key ways to get your campus politically engaged this year:
1. Hold a voter registration drive. Before you begin, please review the laws of your Secretary of State and make sure you know the deadline for voter registration in your state. Have your voter registration drive in a very visible area on campus, like the student center or a freshman cafeteria. Provide general blank voter registration forms and information on voting absentee or early voting for all those swing-state kids. Swing states are where no particular party can guarantee that their candidate will win the state on Election Day; so both parties vie for the state's voters. This year, the swing states are Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire. Swing states are critical in any election year, but with such a tight race this year, those votes matter even more. Anyone originally from swing states should consider registering in their home state, where they have the ability to make a larger impact. If you are from a swing state and go to school in a swing state, try to do a little bit of research before registration to see where your vote may have the most impact. Remember, you can only vote in one state. Find out where the closest polling place is on your campus and provide that info. Bring voter registration forms to all your meetings and events. Throw some extras in your book bag; you never know when you will start talking about politics, and you want to make sure that your friends vote this November.
2. Hold a mock debate with the College Democrats and College Republicans. This is a fun way to get people involved with the election process. You do not have to do Obama v. Mittens, although that may be the most popular. You can do the Democratic platform v. Republican platform, Senate candidates, local candidates, etc. Be creative and educational, make each team knows their candidate's platform, and allow questions from the floor. To make it even more interesting, have people cast their votes before and after the debate to see if the debate was able to persuade anyone in one direction or another.
3. Organize your roommates, dorm and/or building floor to get out the vote. Make sure everyone on the floor is registered to vote, and try to identify who is planning to vote for women's rights. Know what IDs are necessary in your state to prove your voting eligibility, and make sure your voters have the correct IDs. Engage your neighbors in conversations about what is at stake in the election for women. Have material available if you encounter undecided voters. On election day, canvass your floor to make sure everyone has gotten out to vote. Keep track of your voters, and keep after them until they've voted.
4. Have voter education events to educate students on candidates, ballot initiatives and key issues. Have panels on general topics, such as why 2012 matters for women, especially young women, or what a voter id amendment can mean for young voters in the current political climate. Try to make the events appealing to a large chunk of your student population. For example, you may have a popular environmental major at your school, so address those issues in the programming, and be sure to include those students by inviting them to discuss green issues and energy. Work with other student groups who deal with social justice, not just political groups. For example, the environmental club could add a great deal of dialogue to a voter education event and motivate new people. Also, working with progressives now will make it easier to work together in the future, after the election season.
5. Invite candidates to your campus. The more local the candidate, the more likely it is they will attend. It's best to invite candidates from multiple sides of spectrum. It is ideal for the candidates to be asked questions by students, so make sure to clear this with the campaign office ahead of time. Promote this event like crazy, because students will be able to meet a candidate that they can vote for and, they can make sure that the candidate takes their concerns into account.
6. Talk to your friends and classmates. As simple as this may sound, it is important to talk to your friends about why it is so important to vote, to update their registration, to send their absentee ballots in on time, to volunteer for good candidates and to educate themselves on the issues. Post critical information on your Facebook and Twitter to start, and keep the conversation going. If you are having an event and/or working on a campaign, let all your friends know -- having someone go with you makes it easier and can help your friends become more interested on working in a campaign.
7. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer!! There is no bigger contribution you can make than volunteering for a political campaign. Campaign offices always love college volunteers and hopefully will provide you with massive amounts of pizza for your hard work. You can volunteer in a variety of ways, from phonebanking to canvassing to staffing events. Volunteering on a campaign is also something great to put on your resume and can lead to some awesome future connections. If your school is in a swing state, or if a swing state is in driving distance, then try to set aside some time to volunteer for the race, especially in the weeks leading up to the election. There are so many campaigns to get involved in, from presidential to the congressional races and even local campaigns like City Council, and many states also have formal ballot initiative campaigns. One of the benefits of working on a smaller campaign is you will have the ability to learn a larger variety of skills and be involved with more components of the campaign, because the campaign needs your help so much. Even if you do not have a ton of time this semester, that's okay -- even an hour or two can make a major difference in an election year. If you want to maximize your impact, consider volunteering during GOTV (Get Out The Vote). GOTV is most critical the weekend before the election as well as the day before and day of. These four days are the most exciting of any election cycle, and your help can real make the difference in a given community.
8. VOTE on Election Day!! This one is kind of a no-brainer. Make sure that you know your Election Day plan, whether it's early voting, absentee or in person. Look up information for your polling place and/or mail-in deadline a few weeks before the election, not the night before. Vote all the way down the ballot, from president to the ballot initiatives.
Love Your Body Day is Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Love Your Body Day celebrates authentic beauty and promotes healthy body image.
On many campuses, this is NOW's most popular campaign. In addition, you can use it to get the year started strong and gain new members. Here are three great ways to get involved with this campaign:
1. Screen an empowering movie, host a Love Your Body fashion show, or lead a discussion on body image. Find more details and ideas at http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/oncampus.html. Be totally creative and unique. If you need any help, please let us know. And, send any pics of events to email@example.com.
2. Join our 30-day countdown to Love Your Body Day. We are sharing enlightening infographics, LYB poster contest favorites and humorous internet memes daily. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NationalNOW and share with all your friends.
3. Order Love Your Body posters. Want to spread the word about Love Your Body Day on your campus? You can get up to 50 free posters. They are really spectacular. To order 2012 posters and more, checkout: http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/order_form_aug12_group.pdf.
Recruit, Recruit, Recruit New Feminists
Get new members for your CAN asap. The beginning of the year is a wonderful time to get new members.
Make sure to include freshmen. Set up a mentoring program between freshmen and juniors and/or seniors. Being an activist on your campus may be difficult, and providing guidance can lead a freshmen to taking a leadership role in your group later and becoming more active on campus.
Your CAN always needs new members to keep ideas fresh and help with events. Remember: the more, the merrier.
Be sure to table at your Student Activities Day. Bring some candy, sign-up sheets, information about your first meeting and info about some upcoming events for the semester.
Make sure to bring sign-up sheets to all your meetings and events. Voter Education and Love Your Body Day events will likely bring a large crowd, and it is important to collect new emails, so you can reach out again as the year goes on.
Time to Update Contact Information?
No longer in school? Have a new email address? Let us know what's going on. Please email updated info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need anything else? Please contact NOW Field Organizer Anita Lederer at email@example.com or call 202-628-8669 ext. 134. I know that this year will be a great one for your CAN. I'm here to help with anything you may need. From recruiting tips to action planning, all you have to do is ask.