Election Discussion Series Continues with “I Advocate”

The Center for Student Involvement took over Friends Hall on Thursday to present the third event in their discussion-based series “I Advocate” to the student body.

This three-part series began in November when CSI held a similar “I Feel” event to create a safe space for students to discuss their varying emotions following the results of the Presidential Election. The event was followed up by “I Care,” and resulted in this most recent “I Advocate” presentation.

Facilitated by Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Karen Booth, the presentation outlined four major components of advocacy: what is advocacy, where to advocate, how to advocate, and advocacy in 2017.

Defined by Booth as “a way to make change or solve problems to protect rights or human dignity,” advocacy requires “curiosity about the world around you” and a “sense of care and concern for others.”

Outlined in Booth’s slides were Senator's phone numbers to call, links to websites detailing state legislation and directions for successful protesting and rallying. Also, working with Booth to promote these ideas was student and Women’s Center Coordinator, Ebony Jackson.

Discussion was not the only option for students interested in becoming better advocates on and off campus. At the beginning of the presentation students were encouraged to visit a voter registration table in connection with Ramapo partner TurboVote in the back of Friends Hall.

For those interested in advocating social issues on campus, Jackson introduced various advocacy groups being formed by her and other student leaders. These range from environmentalism, on-campus diversity, hate crimes and assault.  Students had the option to sign up for these various coalitions to bring greater attention to a wider variety of issues at Ramapo.

“We want to advocate for issues we care about. We came up with 12 issues and each group has a leader,” said Jackson.

“If we can generate interest we will try to find a space where people can come together to harness their energy, passion and resources around some of these topics,” continued Booth.

Most attendees were faculty, student leaders and members of the Student Government Association. Lacking were students not already involved in these advocacy groups.

If interested in joining one of these groups or learning more about becoming an advocate off campus, CSI plans to hold another discussion in April and hopes to continue in the following months.