Monday, June 21, 2010

Hunger Banquet

For the student leaders of Students Against Hunger and Homelessness at FGCU:

You have money for this event, it is your decision if you want to cater the event (it is okay to Aramark now, they signed the agreement to pay farmworkers a penny more per pound of tomatoes picked), or to cook yourselves like at the last hunger banquet. Both ways worked, and both come with their own headaches. If catering is going to be too costly, then you can ask student government for help (I suggest talking to Marco). You have materials to pass out, and you can always go to Oxfam America to get more. They also change up the speech once in a while, so you may want to go get the updated version. You cannot fundraise at the event, even to collect cans, otherwise Student Government will not give you money for next year for the event.

You need to book the Student Union ballroom as soon as possible, your first day back if you can, because it goes soon. Marie (or whoever is there that year) in Campus Reservations will help you with setting up the floor-plan. They should still have the floor-plan from last year in the system, so just make sure to tell them of any changes you may want. The day of the event, the school will set up the room, so all you have to worry about is everything else 

Icebreaker: One year we had guests build their own house, then a “natural disaster” came and destroyed it. The other years we just had videos playing. You can do whatever you want.

Speech: Make sure that you get people who are actually good at talking, no one wants to listen to someone who stutters and stumbles or doesn’t speak loud enough. At the end you can have an open forum where people can come up and talk about hunger issues if they want. Or you can bring in people from the outside world to talk.

Tickets: Get a couple volunteers to pass out the tickets BEFORE people enter the room (they did a poor job of this last year), and tell them to hand it out in the correct amounts, 3:2:1 I think.

Timing is everything: The year before last we had to stall by playing videos because we went through the speech quicker than we thought, and the food hadn’t arrived yet. You want to at least seem like you know what you are doing!

Everyone knows this is my least favorite event, but people really enjoy it, and they get a free meal. So it is worth doing, and it does send a powerful message.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Breathe! Everything will be just fine, do one thing at a time, it's not as bad as you think.

Friday, June 11, 2010


This is a post for the new officers of Students Against Hunger and Homelessness and the Lee County Homeless Coalition Honors Service Team to plan out the Trick-or-Canning event.


Prep work: Make two fliers, one asking students to help and volunteer and one to put in mailboxes in neighborhoods (important info to put on flyer: date, where food is going, what is being collected, student group(s) involved, and a way to donate if they are not home-like leaving a bag of food with their donation outside). Make sure to map out where you put the fliers, I just print out mapquest maps and highlight the areas we reach. Keep these! You will give them to your trick-or-canners the night of Halloween so they know what houses were reached and where to go. Posting fliers: took 1 ½ hours to reach three streets and used 75 fliers. Tell your volunteers to bring a suitcase, remember how much it helps!

Day of event: Have everyone sign in, get people into groups. Each group gets a set of directions and a sign with the flier on it, or some other identifying feature so that people know who you are. Make sure one person in each group has your number and you have theirs in case there is a problem sometime in the night. I like giving each person a glow stick, makes them feel like we care about their safety (which we do, of course). It gets dark about 7:00pm, and you should be done by 9:30pm. Each group can probably get through six streets or more in that time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bake Sales

My club had a bake sale recently, where we raised 94 dollars to buy a goat, miracle tree, and honey bees from Oxfam America. This was a really good amount for four hours of work. But this accomplishment was somewhat dampered by the fact that clubs are no longer allowed to have bake sales. The schools main provider of food (Aramark) is saying that students are not allowed to sell any sort of food item. This sucks! Clubs depend upon selling food, because what else are students going to buy?

Aramark is making the campus very unhappy, and not just because they are banning bake sales, but also because they fail to pay fair wages to the tomato pickers of Immokalee. The workers in Immokalee get paid a very small amount, far far below minimum wage. This is happening right by our school, in a little town that everyone overlooks because it is mainly a farmworkers town. A club at our school is trying to get Aramark to work with the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) to ensure basic human rights and dignity for the farmworkers in its supply chain, and to pay a penny more per pound for its tomatoes directly to the workers that picked them.

It is a big task to accomplish, but we must try for the sake of the livelihood of others, and I wish Angela and the other members of the Progressive Student Alliance luck!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Club Meetings

I just had the first meeting for my club yesterday, and we ad nineteen people show, which is a lot for the club. I know many of them will discontinue, but maybe there will be some who are interested enough to stay, go to the events, and maybe even take a leadership position. It is my fear that there will not be anyone interested enough to want to take a leadership position, and the club will die. Who will take on the clubs mission?

There are over 10,000 students at my school, and there are only about 10-20 individuals who dedicate a lot of their time for social justice. There are probably about 100 (or less) that will go to an event or two. The 10-20 people who actually care work long hours to provide opportunities to other students to get involved in the community and world, but we never get the huge crowds that you see at basketball games or dances. I don't understand, because many of our events are very fun!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dealing with Others

As a club leader, you will have to deal with many people, from club members, other club leaders, and the various places you have to go to on campus to get things done (budget office, student involvement, student government, etc).

I came across a problem early in the semester when I noticed that the two club boxes with all our flyers, T-shirts, markers, and videos was missing. I knew that this boded ill. So we went to the people we thought were responsible, but they stated that they did not clean out the room, and that all clubs were notified to remove their stuff (needless to say, we have still not received the email). So they sent us to the department that was responsible for cleaning out the room. So we walked over and explained the situation again to a different person, who told us that the people where we had just came from were the ones that cleaned the room! So our stuff is missing, and we still do not know who to blame because nobody is claiming responsibility. You will run into these sort of situations, where people send you all over the place and nobody knows what is happening. Keep calm, and remain very polite and understanding, because these are the people you will have to deal with all year, and you want them to like you!

Occasionally you will get club members who are a little different from everyone else. There are people out there with no social skills, and some who are downright scary. DO NOT BE MEAN! Don't give them the cold shoulder or anything, because they may turn out to be your most loyal and hardworking member. Do not judge people, even though you may want to.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting People to PARTICIPATE

I have come to the conclusion that people don't want to make decisions, they just want to be told what to do.

I am a leader of a student activist club on my college campus, and have found that people will help out as long as they are told firmly what to do. So they really don't want to make decisions and come up with ideas on their own, but at the same time they feel disappointed if they are not included in the brainstorming process. The solution: have a list of ideas they can choose from, say what your favorites are and why, and they will usually lean towards what you want to do. So you can do what you want to, and the members feel like they were involved. And sometimes you will get a good group that will actually give good ideas! It always makes me happy to get input from others, because I do not know everything, and I love to learn new ways to improve.

If you are having trouble getting people to step up to the plate, then TELL them what to do. Say you are going to head this section of the event (advertising, fundraising, etc), and tell them what you expect of them. You will need to keep a close eye on them, but it will take a little weight off your shoulders. It's hard to be a leader, especially one dealing with social rights issues, because we all try to do as much as possible to save the world.