This organizing manual is designed to help students found and develop a Free Culture group at their school.
Incorporates text from the "Equitable Access License Organizing Manual, v1.1".(attribution)
Other campus organizing manuals, which could be possible sources or references. This is not an extensive list, or meant to imply endorsement, just some quick Google hits:
- Global Campaign for Microbicides
- Beyond War
- Amnesty International
- College Democrats
- Campus Greens
- buy essays
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Organizing principles
- 3 FreeCulture.org and you
- 4 Getting started
- 5 The issues
- 6 Running a good meeting and a good organization
- 7 Developing a strategy
- 8 Building a broad base of support
- 9 Tactics
- 10 Working with the Media
- 11 Coordinating with Other Schools
- 12 Meeting with the administration
- 13 Fundraising
- 14 Appendices
- 15 Attribution
So you've decided to start a Free Culture student group at your school. Awesome! This organizing manual is designed to guide you through the process of founding a group. We hope that it, and the other contents of the Activist Packet, will be useful to you. (If you have ideas about how to improve our resources -- or anything else we do -- please let us know.)
No pain, no gain
We have to level with you: it's no easy task. Starting any student group is never easy, and Free Culture groups are no exception. You should know up front that it takes considerable effort and time, and probably a little money too. FreeCulture.org and your fellow Free Culture groups will do what they can to help. Don't hesitate to ask for input or advice. See #Where to go for help.
The following documents, also included in this Activist Packet, contain important information about FreeCulture.org and Free Culture groups. You should familiarize yourself with them.
Here are some general suggestions that should apply, from finding your first members through meeting with elected officials:
- Be creative. Problems will seek you out; solutions usually will not. You'll have to find them, then -- and it's not always easy. Don't be afraid to look off the beaten path, to think outside the box. Often, others will have a suggestion that leads you to the answer; don't be afraid to ask around.
- Be accepting. Don't just tolerate diversity: seek it out. Look for opportunities to collaborate across borders. People will judge your actions based on what you accomplish and what you try, not who you work with or who your members are. Minimize conflict. Carefully weigh the cost of controversy. Be willing to work with those from different backgrounds or with different ideas. Look for ways to make your interests relevant to others. Be open-minded.
- Be available. Don't take offense at constructive criticism. Give people an opportunity to leave feedback. Keep the decision-making process in the open, so others can participate and understand. Make your official documents easily accessible. Be willing to explain. Lower the barriers to participation.
- Do your homework. Being a leader means that others will look to you for leadership. You'll be expected to offer guidance, opinions, and knowledge. Be prepared. Thorough research and keeping abreast of current events will make you more effective in whatever you do. Use the resources in this Activist Packet as a staring point.
- Be persistent. You will face inertia and many other sorts of resistance, and maybe even outright rejection -- even from your own supporters. Be prepared to resend the email, call again, look elsewhere, consider criticism, re-frame the issue, and keep trying. Remember this: "no" should never be the end of the conversation, and it doesn't neccesarily mean you lost, either. As Bluto said in Animal House: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain't over now."
- Lead by example. Run free software. Use Creative Commons licenses. Vote. Participate. Donate. Patronize businesses that support us. Share. Be careful in situations that could give the appearance of impropriety. Consider well the ramifications of breaking the law. Know your rights.
Changing the wind
Change is always resisted. In the case of Free Culture groups, the causes you advance will face not only inertia, but in many cases organized opposition as well. The forces that oppose you have the advantage in terms of money, organization, credibility, experience, and connections. Merely standing up, simply pushing back is a beginning towards positive change -- but it usually will not be enough. Consider the following excerpt and what guidance it might offer.
It was one of those warm spring days in the nation's capital when the fresh promise of new possibilities seems, just for a moment, to defy the entrenched ways of Washington. Surrounded by the impressive vista of monuments and museums on the Mall, I stood behind a rough lectern on a makeshift stage, looking into the eyes of one thousand low-income people -- mostly single mothers who had been on welfare. My job was to speak, and my topic was hope. In a city where the currency is power, these poor Americans seemed a bit out of place. Not used to having much clout in their political system, you could tell they were feeling the energy that comes from just being together. They had come on buses from urban and rural communities to lobby the Congress for a new welfare-reform bill -- one that would effectively help people like themselves escape poverty and move to self-sufficiency. I told them a story.
I remember another group of people who wanted to change things meeting in a high mountain town in Mexico, two thousand miles from Washington, D.C. Two hundred fifty Christian leaders from fifty countries (mostly from the Southern Hemisphere) were gathered for a whole week to ask how they could learn to do a new kind of "advocacy." Having spent years doing service to the poor in their own countries, and now engaged in effective community development projects, they still saw the poor losing ground. So they had come from Latin America, Africa, and Asia to ask how they together might help change the rules of global trade and transform international economic practices enough to give poor countries and their people a fair chance to break the bonds of misery and deprivation. I told them the same story.
I've also told the story at Harvard University, where I teach part-time. In my class at the Kennedy School of Government, the students wrestled with the question of what to do with their lives after graduation -- trying to sort out the differences between career and vocation. Harvard graduate students are being groomed to run the systems of power that the poor mothers in Washington and the Christian leaders from the global south want to change. But they too are looking for reasons to hope that some transformation might be possible.
I've told the same story at countless public gatherings and town meetings in hundreds of communities across the length and breadth of the United States, where people of faith, conscience, goodwill, and fragile hopes want to make a difference but are searching for ways to do it. Maybe you are like some of the people I've talked to.
Here's the story.
I urged the moms on the Mall not to waste any valuable time while they were in Washington. I wanted them to be able to quickly recognize the members of Congress whom they had come to see. They're the ones, I told them, who walk around town with their fingers held high in the air, having just licked them and put them up to see which way the wind is blowing. It's quite a sight -- men and women walking all around the Capital grounds with their wet index fingers pointed at the sky. The political leaders are really very good at figuring out the direction of the wind, and are quite used to quickly moving in that direction.
It's not a matter of malice for most of them. I've met quite a few politicians, and in fact many come to Washington because they truly wanted to to do the right thing. But after a while, they get entrenched in Washington's ways, and change seems ever more distant. Power and wealth are the real governors here, and people adjust to those realities. Even the ones who still really want to make a difference will you they can't without public backing, and they don't often find it.
Many of us believe that by replacing one wet-fingered politician with another, we can change our society. But it never really works, and when it doesn't we get disillusioned. We then get tempted to just grumble, withdraw, or give up altogether on ever changing anything. But that's where we make our mistake.
The great practitioners of real social change, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, understood something very important. They knew that you don't change a society by merely replacing one wet-fingered politician with another. You change a society by changing the wind.
Change the wind, transform the debate, recast the discussion, alter the context in which political decisions are being made, and you will change the outcomes. Move the conversation around a crucial issue to a whole new place, and you will open up possibilities for change never dreamed of before. And you will be surprised at how fast the politicians adjust to the change in the wind.
Then I gave them a historical example.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had just won the Nobel Peace Prize and was ready to come home from Norway. The freedom movement had achieved a great victory in securing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and King was honored as the newest Nobel laureate. But the civil rights leader decided to stop by Washington, D.C., even before heading back home to Atlanta -- because he needed to meet with the president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
King told Johnson that the next step on the road to freedom was a voting rights act, without which black Americans in the South would never be able to really change their communities. But the nation's master of realpolitik told America's moral leader that he couldn't deliver a voting rights act. Johnson said he had cashed in all his "chits" with the southern senators to get the civil rights law passed and that he had no political capital left. It would be five or ten years, the president told King, before a voting rights act would be politically possible. But we can't wait that long, said King. Without voting rights, civil rights couldn't be fully realized. I'm sorry, Johnson reportedly told King, but a voting rights law just wasn't politically realistic. They would have to wait.
But Martin Luther King Jr. was not one to simply complain, withdraw, or give up. Instead, King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began organizing -- in a sleepy little town nobody had ever heard of, called Selma, Alabama.
On one fateful day, King and the SCLC leaders marched right across the Edmond Pettis Bridge, alongside the people of Selma, to face the notorious Sheriff Jim Clark and his virtual army of angry white police. On what would be called Bloody Sunday, a young man (and now congressman from Atlanta) named John Lewis was beaten almost to death, and many others were injured or jailed.
Two weeks later, in response to that brutal event, hundreds of clergy from all across the nation and from every denomination came to Selma and joined in the Selma to Montgomery march. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel came down from New York to march beside the black Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr., as did more ministers from around the country than had ever before come out to support the civil rights struggle -- which, for them, had also become a religious one.
The whole nation was watching. The eyes of America were focused on Selma, as they had been on Birmingham before the civil rights law was passed. And after the historic Selma to Montgomery march for freedom, it took only five months, not five years or ten, to pass a new voting rights act: the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King had changed the wind.
I remember a panel discussion, many years later, where a famed presidential historian proclaimed, "And Lyndon Johnson, in a dramatic act of presidential courage, went to a joint session of Congress to call for a voting rights act!" I said it was a great thing that Johnson had responded to the challenge as he did (other presidents might not have), but that it was King, not Johnson, who had painted a vivid picture for the world to see that changed the winds of public opinion and made a voting rights act now possible. The Selma campaign had transfixed the nation, dramatically shifted the public debate, and fundamentally altered the political context to make a new voting rights law politically realistic.
from Jim Wallis, God's Politics, 2005, pp. 20-23
Now, marching is not the only way to re-frame a political issue -- and hopefully it won't take police brutality for others to get your point. But tactics and specifics aside, the civil rights movement's ability to energize support around an issue, and then mobilize that support, may offer an example of how change becomes realized.
FreeCulture.org and you
What FreeCulture.org can offer you
First and foremost, FreeCulture.org is almost always prepared to give feedback on ideas, answer any questions you may have, and provide general suggestions. In other words, feel free to contact us, and we'll be more than happy to reply back.
On a more tangible level, FreeCulture.org can provide your club with resources that might be useful for recruitment and general free culture activities. For example, if your club is holding a recruitment drive, we may be able to give you Creative Commons stickers, Public Knowledge pamphlets, and other useful goods, depending on availability.
We also plan to give new groups an activist packet, consisting of documents outlining our mission and our organization, as well as tips on how to access free, open content and get involved with other free culture-related organizations/efforts.
Presently we cannot offer funding to groups, but if we can help out with your fundraising efforts, please let us know!
What FreeCulture.org expects of you
FreeCulture.org has a few simple, but important, expectations:
- Groups should be aware of the happenings of FreeCulture.org on a national level, as well as any major milestones in the free culture movement.
- Groups should be active in their campus communities.
- Groups should keep FreeCulture.org informed of their activities.
Recruiting a core group Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬Å“the organizing committeeÃ¢â‚¬?
It does not take many people to organize for change at a university. You may already have a group at your university that works on access to medicines issues, in which case it will not be difficult to recruit a core group to work on the EAL. If you do not already have a group, don't worry about starting off small. You only need 3-5 people to carry out the initial stages of a campaign.
In fact, a large group may not be desirable at this stage. At this point you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have all the facts, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a strategy, and you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have much cohesion within a new group. Without these elements it is going to be difficult to keep a larger group interested. It is better to get a few hardcore people to do the early work and then bring on more people later when you have your plan together.
It is important to have diversity at an early stage, so people with social networks in many communities feel ownership over the issue. Diversity makes it much easier to build a broad base of support, and multiple points of view will help the group frame the issue and choose appropriate tactics. There should be women and men, representatives from many campus communities, a range of class years, graduate students from different departments, and if you can manage it, a faculty member and a staff member.
If your core group is not already diverse, or part of a diverse larger group, you should actively recruit other participants. Look up names of student leaders and then literally call them up (e-mail does not work well for this), explain the issue, and ask them to get involved. If they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do it, then they will probably be very willing to help you find someone in their group who is interested. Do not be afraid to forge relationships in ways that are otherwise unusual on campus. You will find that most students are eager to get involved in something meaningful, and will be more than happy to speak with you.
You should be able to find at least one progressive professor who will be willing to lend their name to the campaign and act as a liaison to other faculty members. The faculty members will probably not come to your planning meetings, but you can ask them to help involve colleagues, circulate sign-on letters, provide advice on navigating the bureaucracy and tap financial resources.
Staff members are equally as important, because even though the university often treats them as "invisible," they play an essential role on campus. Many staff members may want to be involved because they have family who live in countries that would be affected by the EAL. One way to find staff members who might want to be involved is to contact union leaders, and to talk to staff in the cafeteria, library and dorms.
The first organizing committee meeting
Once you have organized a core group, you need to have an initial meeting. This meeting is crucial for getting the campaign off on the right foot, and should be well-planned in advance by 2-3 members of the core group so that everything gets accomplished and no one person dominates the meeting.
The goals of the first meeting are three-fold: identify the issue; formulate an initial list of demands; and assign responsibility for carrying out groundwork research. You may also want to identify the person who will serve as the primary contact person with the national group, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM).
Identifying and framing the issues
The best issues for campaigns that depend on organizing public support are:
- Morally compelling and relevant to the mission of the university
- Easy to explain to most (thought not necessarily all) people
- Affected by the policies of the university
The issue of access to essential medicines fits all of these criteria. Your group might identify other important issues in the campaign, such as the role of the university in producing and disseminating knowledge.
The core group should have a discussion on the main issues in this campaign, and how to present them to different groups in a way that highlights the three criteria. The 1-minute explanation you'll give to interested friends will be much different than the 5-minute explanation to the press and the 7-minute explanation to administrators.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth having a brainstorming session to identify exactly what is at stake in this campaign and what is motivating group members' involvement. Why is this issue so important? Why should we expect the university to do something about it?
The group should also talk about how to frame the issue. Many student organizers find that cutting an issue in moral terms is much more effective than a technical framework. Acecss to medicines is a complex issue, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to understand the technicalities, but we are addressing a fundamentally moral question: should poor people have access to essential medicines?
Identifying your core demands
Once the issues are identified and framed, the group should talk about how it expects the university to address them. The overriding demand is obviously for the university to adopt the EAL. But there are several questions the group has to consider:
- What is a reasonable timeline for adoption of the EAL?
- Should the EAL be used for all licensing contracts, or only at the university's discretion?
- What process of adoption is acceptable? Is it OK if the university proposes a committee to study the issue for 9 months?
From the answers to these questions (and any others), the group can draw up a list of demands. This list will surely change over the course of your campaign, but the core issues will be the same. Even though you don't have all the details yet, it is important to set out an initial list so the group knows what it is working toward and can express this to potential allies and decisionmakers.
Laying the ground with good research
Research is crucially important. Once your campaign starts rolling the critics will come out of the woodwork, and your facts better back up your rhetoric. Information sometimes becomes harder to get after a campaign has gained momentum, so it is important to collect as much as you can at this stage.
Here are some of the key questions:
- Does your school have any policies, whether strict rules or general principles, about when and where it patents?
- What is the schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policy about patenting in developing countries, from the poorest to the middle income? Do they do it? Do they let their licensees do it?
- Does the technology transfer office articulate its goals in terms related to the public good? Does the university have an official public service mission, in its charter or elsewhere? What is its slogan? Does its articles of incorporation include an obligation to the public good? Has the president made public statements about the university's commitment to social welfare? These kinds of public commitments will give you leverage to push for the EAL.
- How much licensing income does the school bring in? How much does it generate from developing countries?
- Where does licensing income go?
- What companies are the important patents licensed to?
- Where does research money at your school come from? How much comes from government and how much from private sources? What are the largest private sources?
- What health-related technologies have been developed, or are being developed, at your school? At what stage of product development is the research useful? What is the Ã¢â‚¬Å“hotÃ¢â‚¬? research at the university? What are they known for/good at? Life sciences or agriculture? Retroviruses or cancer?, etc. Any drugs or diagnostic tools? Finding this information will help make the benefits of the EAL more concrete to your allies, the press, and the administration.
- What were the terms of past licensing agreements on these technologies? Are any of these technologies still on patent? If so, how are they priced in developing countries? Are they reasonably accessible?
- Where/who is your schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s technology transfer office (sometimes called the Office of Cooperative Research, the Technology Licensing Office, etc.)? This is the administrative office that actually licenses the universityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s IP to the private sector. Find their website and contact information.
- Who runs your technology transfer office? What is their background? Do they have any ties to the pharmaceutical industry?
- Who are the campaign's potential allies and opponents? A crucial part of research is finding out who is ultimately responsible for making university licensing policy. It is most likely to be the President, backed up by the Board of Trustees. Has the President taken a stand on these issues? Is there anyone on the Board of Trustees who would be a natural ally or obstacle? Research who sits on the board of trustees and what their affiliations are. The administration will try to act as a buffer between you and the trustees, but if you can identify natural allies on the Board it will be helpful to reach out to them. The same goes for med school faculty, law profs who deal with IP issues, and any other faculty members who might have an interest.
Here are some ways to find the answers:
- You will want to start by doing internet research. Find your schoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tech transfer office website and do some snooping. Look for "Mission Statements," and yearly financial reports that may list important drugs that have been licensed in the past and are currently bringing in big royalty payouts to the university. Do a Lexis-Nexis search on your school's name and terms like "pharmaceutical," "drug," "patent," "licensing," "technology transfer," "medicine," etc.
- After you have done some Googling, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably still have a bunch of unanswered questions. Armed with your budding expertise, schedule a meeting with somebody from the tech transfer office. You should be honest and tell them that you are a group of students interested in how the university licenses its intellectual property. However, being honest does not mean divulging all information. At this point, you do not have tell them anything about the EAL.
- Make sure you bring a pre-written list of questions that you want answered, and do not leave without answers to all the questions, or commitments to provide the information by an agreed time. It is quite possible that the technology transfer folks will be reluctant to answer everything. Some of the information youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking for may not be readily available and will require some effort on their part to track down. They may claim that other information is proprietary.
- You will need to be persistent in your inquiries, but try not to annoy/anger them. Be respectful toward administrators and faculty so that they trust you with the information and trust that you will not twist their words.
- Contact science or med-school professors who are familiar with health-related research at your school. They may be able to tell you about what technologies have been licensed in the past, and what new technologies are in the pipeline. It is also worth getting a faculty perspective on the licensing process and the tech transfer office. In their experience, how has the tech transfer office conducted themselves? Did they put the public interest first? At the end of your conversations you can recruit helpful faculty to support the EAL campaign.
One of the best ways to use your research is to write a feature-length article for one of the campus publications and/or write your own report. This allows you to meet with administrators under the pretext of fact-gathering, lets you package all of your research for public consumption, and lends credibility to your campaign. Later on you can republish copies of the article/report and give them to potential supporters, the press, administrators, trustees, etc.
Running a good meeting and a good organization
Running a good meeting
It may sound trivial, but holding efficient and productive meetings is one of the hardest and most important tasks in organizing. New members will not return if they come to a meeting that is long, unstructured and accomplishes little. Your group will make better decisions if every meeting has a clear purpose, and everyone is included in discussions that lead to a decision point.
It is essential to have an agenda for every meeting that outlines what will be discussed, how long each item should take, and perhaps the name of whoever is leading discussion on a certain issue. You should e-mail the agenda around a few days before the meeting, for additions or modifications, and hand out paper copies at the actual meeeting. During the meeting someone should take responsibility for making sure the meeting stays on schedule.
Meetings shouldn't run over an hour and fifteen minutes. After this point even the most hardcore members start to fade out. The less hardcore in the group just get frustrated. Responsibility for each agenda item should ideally be assigned before each meeting, to make sure that no single person will dominate. There should be plenty of opportunities for discussion among everyone who attends.
Make sure you schedule a few minutes at the beginning to introduce everyone to each other, especially so new members feel included. This type of social inclusion if done correctly can go a long way in ensuring your members stay committed. It is also a good idea to schedule some time for updates on what has happened nationally, and what people have been working on since the last meeting. This way everyone can catch up, see how much has been accomplished, and recognize the work of of others.
The decision-making process
Organizational decisions can be made in a variety of ways, but it is important that everyone has a hand in making decisions Ã¢â‚¬â€ not just because democracy is good in principle, but because it leads to better decisions.
Some groups act only on Ã¢â‚¬Å“consensus,Ã¢â‚¬? which means that everyone in the group has to agree before a decision is made. The downside is that larger groups can face deadlock. Some groups compromise between consensus and majority rule. For example, you might say that as long as at least 2/3 of the group agrees to a decision at a meeting, it will go through. For decisions that have to be made quickly and canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait for an in-person meeting, you could say that as long as no more than 1/4 of the group disagrees via e-mail within 48 hours of a proposed decision, the decision goes through.
It is important to give responsibility to everyone who wants and can handle it. On one hand, you do not want people to be dictators and take on all the burden of everything themselves. On the other hand, you do not want everyone responsible for every single decision and there is a diffusion of responsibility so that no one ever feels the need to step up if things fail.
Specialization can work very well. Responsibility can be taken up by a smaller group of people interested in a particular task. A leader of each group be chosen to facilitate further discussion and planning and to make sure that ultimately there is someone responsible for making sure the project gets done. One way to structure weekly meetings is to have 10 minutes for the whole group to meet in the beginning, break into specialist groups for 45 minutes, and then come back to delegate tasks to the larger group for big projects, vote on strategies, etc.
Follow up is essential. Student organizations could read like fairy tales - if only they followed up on their great idealistic meetings to make sure things ended happily ever after. Make sure that you have a list of everyone and what they signed up for as well as a telephone number and email to reach them at. Ensure that they are followed up on to fulfill their commitment, either with a quick phone call or an e-mail.
Developing a strategy
Once the group has framed the issue, carried out research, and started to publicize the issue, it is time to start organizing for implementation of your demands. It may be that your administration and board of trustees immediately agrees to adopt the EAL, and you should definitely pursue this possibility by meeting first with top decisionmakers (see "Meeting with your friendly administrator" below). However, in the more likely event that the administration stalls, forms a committee to study the issue indefinitely, or flat-out rejects the EAL, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need another approach.
In the face of resistance from the administration, the most effective campaigns are the ones that focus on an extremely simple strategy:
- Organize deep and wide grassroots support around an issue.
- Use that support in creative ways to publicly embarrass the university to the point where they have to change.
It is important to keep your eye on the ball. Your university has probably been around for decades, if not centuries. No institution can survive that long without learning how to coopt change agents. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need to be careful to avoid the following traps:
- Assuming that moral suasion and good arguments are enough to change policies and the minds of university policymakers.
- Believing that the sanctioned Ã¢â‚¬Å“proper channelsÃ¢â‚¬? are always the most effective channels.
- Getting caught up with university procedure and protocol that can easily slow and stop change.
- Believing that the formation of a committee is a sign of the universityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s willingness to change.
- Forgetting that the university is subject to the influences of wealth and entrenched power, despite pleasing rhetoric and friendly administrators
To succeed, it is necessary to consistently and confidently see through the tactics and distractions used by the university to stop change. It is unbelievably frustrating to see how many students and groups are distracted into giving up their power to actually change things. Do not fall into this trap!!!
Once the research has been completed, but before you start to build a large base, it is crucial that the group agree on an overall strategy. There are a few key things to keep in mind when formulating a strategy:
- The main purpose of every tactic should be to put public pressure on the university, and to build the support base. Any action that does not accomplish these twin goals is a waste of resources.
- The campaign should steadily build momentum and support.
- Face-to-face interactions are worlds more effective than e-mails or posters. It is a better use of time to set up a staffed table outside one dining hall than it is to put information flyers on each table in each dining hall. Always direct supporters to take some kind of action, even if it is something simple like signing a petition or telling a friend about the EAL.
- Creative actions that keep your issue in the public eye but do not require a lot of labor to organize are necessary components of a successful campaign. (e.g. Passing out stickers at a Ã¢â‚¬Å“classyÃ¢â‚¬? university event; a voicemail campaign targeting key administrators; or a banner on a prominent campus walk.)
- The most insidious undercutters are your supporters who will discourage you from doing things that really embarrass the university at a time when those tactics might become necessary. This is prone to happen, for example, with student government representatives who have to work regularly with the administration on student quality-of-life issues. Stay focused on your goals.
Making a timeline, building momentum
The first step to developing a strategy is to make a timeline for the first three months of the campaign. This timeline should take university calendar events into account (e.g., breaks, finals period, board of trustee meetings, etc.) and should aim to build momentum. It is always good to start off with a splash, but if you start with too big a bang, everything afterward will be a disappointment. Be realistic about how much time it will take to organize an event, write an article, or call supporters.
Guarding against co-optation
Smart administrators may try to co-opt your efforts by making the leaders of your group feel as though they are part of the decisionmaking process, even when they actually have very little power.
One classic technique is to convene a committee to Ã¢â‚¬Å“study the issue,Ã¢â‚¬? and appoint some members of the student group pushing for change, along with faculty members and administrators. These committees allow the university to say that they are taking action on the issue, without actually having to commit to anything.
If you cannot avoid this fate, make sure there is a quick and firm deadline for when the committee will issue its report. The student members will not have enough power on their own to influence the outcome, so before the committee starts meeting set up private meetings with every single member of the committee. The goal of these meetings is to give members information they may not get from administrators, convince members that your position is the right one, and that there is a lot of support for it, find out where they stand on the issue, and establish relationships with sympathetic members.
Committees often succeed in killing an issue because everything happens behind closed doors. For this reason you must keep the committeeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proceedings in the public eye. Flyer like crazy, hang banners, coordinate an e-mail campaign to the members of the committee, keep the committee in the press, and insist on a public meeting where the views of the community can be formally heard.
Most importantly, it is crucial to have a real sense of urgency. It is not okay for the university to take years researching whether the EAL is a good thing, while essential medicines continue to be inaccessible by poor people.
The corollary to death-by-committee is death-by-time (a problem that afflicts us all). The average half-life of a university administrator/trustee is three times as long as the average tenure of a student. It is not unlikely that it will be a few years before the EAL is widely adapted, so it is crucial that current leaders constantly train and recruit the next generation. The groups that meet with administrators should always have age diversity.
This is hard work for a good cause, but even medieval monks had fun! Make sure you celebrate every victory and event, and that you have regular social events for group members.
Building a broad base of support
Any student groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power is in its numbers, and its ability to mobilize large numbers of supporters for events and actions designed to put pressure on the university. Organizing a large and active base of support is the key to getting consistent press coverage, and a sign to administrators and trustees that your group cannot be shuffled off.
The importance of lists
Lists! Lists! Lists! At every single event, no matter how large or small, pass around signup sheets on clipboards. Lists of names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses are the heart of your campaign, and the names you get should immediately be put into e-mail lists and phone trees. This is the way to make the turnout at your events grow and to keep your base of support well-informed. It is good to have a person or two in charge of maintaining the lists. It is even better if they are technically competent and can maintain a nice database.
Signing up affiliates
A great way to rally wide support is to have faculty, student groups, local politicians, campus unions, and community groups Ã¢â‚¬Å“affiliateÃ¢â‚¬? with your group and issue. This might entail signing a letter of support in which the affiliate agrees to support the issue, allows their name to be used on public flyers and advertisements, and commits to sending out major announcements to their e-mail lists. (See the sample affiliation agreement in the appendices.) Once you collect a large number of affiliates, especially faculty members, you can start publicizing the list on flyers, newspaper advertisements, collective sign-on letters, etc.
Affiliates should receive updates on the progress of the campaign and invitations to all general meetings, participate in special events, and have liasons within the core group of the campaign whom they can contact if they have questions or want to refer other potential partners.
The best way to recruit affiliates is to meet in person and make the case for the EAL. This is much more effective than sending out an e-mail. Preparing presentations forces your campaign to concretely establish its position and engages individuals within your core group in a participatory and rewarding activity. It also enables you to get immediate feedback on the response of community members to your ideas, and presentations give a passionate, committed face to the ideas behind your campaign.
Think broadly when looking for partners within your community, even from student groups that are not necessarily focused on topics related to essential medicines. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll easily find partners within the following constituencies:
- Student Groups Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Do not limit affiliated groups to political, activist, or leftleaning groups. With an issue like the EAL it's easier than you might think to affiliate cultural, religious, volunteer service, and even a capella groups. Even groups that do not publicly affiliate will often agree to at least send out e-mail announcements.
- The best way to go about group affiliations is to have someone who is a member of the group contact the president. Some presidents will just make an executive decision to affiliate, while others will want to put it to a vote. In the latter case, ask to make a presentation to the group and bring pithy supporting materials, the affiliation agreement, and a 5-7 minute spiel.
- Faculty Ã¢â‚¬â€œ First approach progressive faculty and faculty that students in your group know, and then the contacts this first group of faculty gives you, and then everyone else. Look for faculty who may be already be working in health-related issues. It is best to have a face-to-face meeting with faculty members, since they may be cautious about signing on to something they do not know much about.
- You should probably send background materials before the meeting. Come to the meeting with a blank affiliation letter they can sign. Ask every faculty member for referrals to other professors who would be interested. If you are having a difficult time getting a response, use their office hours.
- Other Professional Schools - Medical, public health, law and undergraduate communities within your area can greatly expand your base.
- Professional Organizations - The issue of essential medicines is obviously not limited to student interest. You may find there are groups of interested professionals in your community and one way to access these groups is through active members of professional organizations. These groups can best be found by asking faculty or administrators at your school for contacts or recommendations.
- Political Organizations and Community Groups - The experience of local political and community groups can provide valuable expertise and these groups may be especially useful in planning and advertising events to the wider community.
- Administration - We often talk about administrators as obstacles, but friendly administrators are essential allies in the campaign. They can offer support in informal ways, like giving advice on who the decisionmakers are, providing "inside information,Ã¢â‚¬? and helping you unlock discretionary funds. Approach meetings with administrators with clear goals.
- Staff members - Staff members may want to be involved because they have family who live in countries that would be affected by the EAL. One way to find staff members who might want to be involved is to contact the union leaders, and to talk to staff in the cafeteria, library and dorms.
Tactics should be educational, interactive, and provocative. Be creative and visionary. Do not be afraid to embarrass or overstep the stated bounds of politeness. The actions that you are challenging are not polite; you are justified in assertively and consistently confronting them. However, you can be assertive while remaining respectful!
Each event should be recognized as part of the broader strategy. At large events, escalate energy, turnout, and press coverage: protests should grow in size and visibility. At small events, be innovative, escalate assertiveness, and always be noticed.
Be creative. The sky is the limit. During the apartheid era, students at various universities erected shantytowns on their university lawns as part of a campaign to motivate university divestment from the apartheid regime. The best events educate, provoke, and motivate students to get involved. Consider events that personalize the effects of diseases on people in the developing world without access to medicines. Or events that powerfully illustrate the rising number of deaths due to unethical university, government, and pharmaceutical industry policies. Be sure to share successful events with those organizing on other campuses.
Informational events are important -- they keep your issues in the open and continue to build your base. Do not, however, re-position your goal as educating the university population. You will never convince everybody, nor should you try to. Your goal is to change the way that your university operates; it is not to make everyone on campus recognize your position as the exclusive moral high ground.
The most important thing to remember is that not all of these tactics will work all of the time. If you organize an event and turnout isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t what you had hoped, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t despair! It happens to the most well-organized groups. Even Martin Luther King got less than 50% turnout. He wrote in Why We CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Wait, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The run-off election was April 2. We flew in the same night. By word of mouth, we set about trying to make contact with our 250 volunteers for an unadvertised meeting. About sixty-five came out. The following day, with this modest task force, we launched the direct-action campaign in Birmingham.Ã¢â‚¬?
Informative and educational events allow the uninitiated to recognize the substance behind your claims. Others keep the issue at the forefront for the university population. While you can never depend on educational events to mobilize the student population or change university policy, these are critical components of a larger campaign. They should be early and ongoing, but do not let them be the centerpiece of your efforts.
Each event should educate, but also further your larger strategy of growing the campaign and pressuring the administration. Take advantage of and build on your base of support: at every single action, no matter how large or small, pass around sign-up sheets on clipboards. Integrate people immediately into your strategy; have sign-up sheets, meeting times, and contact names for people who want to get further involved. When there are upcoming events or ongoing campaigns, give people a concrete next step: conduct outreach for a rally, help with postering, or call an administrator. People who attend these events are generally looking to get involved; you need to find ways to channel their energy. You can have the first few events at different times allowing people with fixed schedules to attend.
And one weird, but effective tip: small rooms are usually better than large rooms, and always keep some of the chair folded up until theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re needed. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s far better to cram a moderate-sized group into an energy-packed room (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Room Packed Beyond CapacityÃ¢â‚¬?) than it is to sit in a space with dozens of empty chairs (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sparsely Attended EventÃ¢â‚¬?). As a general rule of thumb, book the smaller room.
Here are some small event possibilities:
- Brown bag lunch discussions - These are especially good early on in the campaign or before big events. If advertised well, they tend to attract sympathetic students who want to understand the issues and are likely to be consistently involved. Find a moderator who can attract a reasonable number of students: a community activist involved in these issues; a student who has worked on global health during the summer or during time off; or an activist faculty member. The moderator can introduce the issue with a short discussion of their involvement and invite questions and discussion. Alternatively, start a discussion with a lunchtime video about global health issues, access to medicines, or student or international activism.
- Speakers - Do not invite a speaker just to have an event; recognize her purpose in the campaign. Some speakers attract a crowd; others attract only the faithful. Choose the right room and do your outreach homework: thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing worse than inviting a speaker and having the few faithful show up to hear her in an otherwise empty auditorium. But recognize that some of the best and most productive speakers will only attract twenty passionate people.
- Debates - Have a sympathetic faculty member(s) represent your side (especially if s/he has been involved in the campaign) and invite the administration or a hostile faculty member(s) to represent the opposition. Or invite outside speakers. Involve members of student organizations in the debate.
- Signing-on support - Start collecting signatures of supporters in a central location. Set up computers and ask students and allies to write emails to an administration target. This is a good way to build and demonstrate your support Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and it requires very few people.
- Ongoing information provision - Information provision should be incorporated into all events. Develop some informative leaflets (basic facts, Q&A sheets, success stories) and always have them available. Some group members should be visible and ready to answer questions.
- Maintain an on-campus presence - Posters, table tents, flyers, armbands, ribbons, or buttons can be effective at keeping your issue simmering between larger events. These work best when paired with face-to-face interactions. If people in your group volunteer to put up table-tents in their dining hall, ask if they will also staff an information table that can be used to sign up supporters and answer questions.
- Skits and songs - These can be performed anytime and anywhere. They are good for rallies or cafeteria invasions. People are more likely to stop and notice their classmates performing a skit about pharmaceutical kingpins aligned with someone acting out their university president than they are to read a flyer. Try recruiting a capella and other performance groups to help out.
- Visual images of the impact of university policies - Act out deaths due to inability to access medicines. Get people to trace a certain number of handprints or make a wall of cardboard cutouts to demonstrate the number of lives lost per day, per week, per month due to university policies. Provide information about the campaign Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and about what you want people to do next.
Organize a mass turnout event
Mass turnout events get the biggest bang for your organizing buck. They draw media and put embarrassing public pressure on the administration; they motivate your group, relieve stress, and make everyone feel empowered. Most importantly, they demonstrate and increase the strength of support for your cause.
There is a tried and true method of organizing mass turnout events that works nearly every time. You need to vary the chants, the text on the flyers and in the phone bank pitch, and the place, time and antics of the event, but the planning is always essentially the same. Mass turnout events work best when many of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“formalÃ¢â‚¬? channels of change have been exhausted, public support is growing, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear that the university is unlikely to budge without a little bit extra.
For larger events, 3-4 weeks of planning is generally ideal. Make sure your timeline is compatible with the schedule of your base of support: do not organize a mass rally the week of final exams. Also, recognize your own abilities and limitations; it is probably unreasonable to try to hold more than one large-scale rally each semester, or even a year. Large scale events are critical, but cannot be overused without wearing out your base and the organizers.
Make critical early decisions with the entire group and divide up the workload into committees in order to avoid overloading the organizers. The number of committees will depend on the number of people involved. Pre-rally planning tasks include: turnout, schedule and speakers, media, and logistics. Preparation is generally more effective, and more fun, if there are at least two people involved in each activity.
A rally is worthless and even counterproductive without people Ã¢â‚¬â€ a lot of people. Turnout is the most essential part of planning any large-scale event. Do not neglect this! It does not matter how colorful your signs are, how wise your speaker is, how creative your chants are if you do not have an audience. Absolutely everyone must be involved in turnout!
- Committee of 200 - If your group of fifteen active members wants to have a good chance of getting 125 people to an event, every organizing member should personally invite at least 20 people. You should literally allocate five minutes of your planning meeting to make sure everyone writes down at least 20 people that they are going to ask. It sounds corny and people will be reluctant at first, but this is by far the most effective and dependable way to turn out large numbers of people. Your friends and acquaintances are much more likely to come to an event than someone who just receives a phone call or reads a flyer.
- Everyone should contact their 20 people during the week before the event to invite them and ask them to invite friends. Everyone should call through their list the night before the event to remind them and give an extra motivation to come. E-mailing does not work as well. A coordinator should be responsible for calling up the groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s members to make sure they called through their list. This is absolutely essential for mass turnout events.
- Phonebanking - The second-most effective way to turn out folks is to get together a group of volunteers to call people who might be sympathetic but are not personal friends with anyone in the core group. Ask them to come, and bring a friend. You can get a list of members from your affiliated groups, print out your own e-mail list, and get lists of names from any other remotely appropriate source you can think of. Do not limit your phonebanking to students. Include faculty and community lists as well. Include phone numbers from event sign-up sheets for any previous event.
- This does not work if volunteers promise to call from their rooms. It is also a lot more fun to have everyone in the same place, with food. Find a place that has at least 10 phones in one spot, and have everyone make calls at the same place and time. Sometimes phones are available in student lounges or activity rooms, or at the offices of sympathetic community organizations. Ask around if you are unsure. If you can procure a big enough room, and if your group has enough members, others can make posters and do further preparations for the event during the phonebanking.
- The conversation should be short, something like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hi, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m calling to make sure that you are coming to the rally tomorrow afternoon to make sure that our university has ethical research policies. Do you know about it? (pause) ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at 1pm in the quad. Can we count on you to be there? Great! Can you bring a friend? How many? Do you have any questions? See you there!Ã¢â‚¬? Whoever is responsible for organizing phonebanking can write a basic Ã¢â‚¬Å“scriptÃ¢â‚¬? and give it all callers, along with their list of callees. Even if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very simple, a script helps people feel more comfortable for the first few calls.
- E-mail - The least effective, but still a worthwhile, way to do turn out is to send e-mails to the lists of the groups that have affiliated with your campaign, and to your own personal e-mail lists. The e-mail should clearly state the time, place and purpose of the event and provide a link to more information.
- Publicity - Most groups donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do turnout; they only do publicity. Since most people are used to doing this instead of turnout, they will gravitate toward putting time into posting flyers instead of spending time calling friends. If you want a successful event, do not let this happen! Publicity is important, but do not let it be all that you do for large events!
- Flyers, table tents, etc. - Put them in visible places, in cafeterias, in entryways, outside on poles, on bulletin boards, etc. You know the drill.
- Announcements - Ask professors if you can take one minute at the beginning of a class to let people know about an important event. If they say no, ask if you can write the details of the event on the blackboard before class. Get peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention during meals or at other large gatherings.
- E-mail to mass lists - Weekly event bulletin, class lists, etc.
- Banners - For big events, make a banner and hang it in a visible place. Include the details of the event and a provocative slogan.
- Newspaper pre-coverage - A good way to generate buzz is to write a column about your issue that is published a day or two before your event, and conveniently mentions it in the text of the article. One of the organizers can do this, or get a reporter to do it for you.
Schedule and Speakers
Prepare a speakers' list at least several days in advance. Faculty, clergy, politicians and community activists often need lots of notice, so start working on this early. For nationally known speakers, you will need even more advance notice and you may need to work more around their schedules. A large-scale rally does not require "big names," but bigger names can help. Choose student, faculty, and community speakers who can light up a crowd and get your message across. And make sure that your speakers' list is diverse enough to appeal to a diverse audience.
Your event schedule should not sound like another hour of class. Incorporate chanting, singing, skits, etc. Always nominate a facilitator/emcee responsible for keeping things moving and sustaining the crowdÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy.
Create and respect the eventÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s schedule and make sure that the time is compatible with enough student schedules. If you planned your event to last from 12-1 because many classes start at 1:20, do not let your event run over to 1:45. The event should close on a resounding high, with a message for those who came out to show their support; it should not end with people drifting off to class in handfuls. Usually one hour is sufficient to have an impact, express the substance of your message, and sustain the energy.
You only need one or two people to do media, but it is second in importance only to turnout. You should double-check your press list as early as possible to make sure it's complete, and has up-to-date contact names and fax numbers. A media advisory should go out a few days before the event, and a day before the event you should call through your press list to make sure the editors have assigned a reporter to cover the story. Send out a press release on the day of the event. For more information see #Working with the media, below.
- For most schools, you need to register with the administration prior to an event. This can be very bureaucratic and you will run into problems if you do not register. Sometimes the university can use this process to try to prevent mass rallies, especially if you are planning a rally at a sensitive time for the university image (i.e., alumni reunions, visiting student weekends, etc.). Do your research in advance and make sure that you are following all their normal guidelines to avoid bureaucratic juggling. Try to stay on good terms with the office responsible for approving your registration; you will need to re-visit them over and over again. Sometimes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth the pain to avoid event registration if you do not want the administration to know what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re up to, but use this option sparingly.
- Amplification is critical. Do not let the administration tell you that there canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be amplification at your event. Figure out how to get speakers and make sure someone at the event is familiar with how to use whatever amplification system you have.
- Make leaflets and informative materials. All informative materials should have contact names on them and ways to get further involved.
- Several volunteers should walk around with clipboards and signup sheets to make sure that everyone who comes to your event is signed in and gets put on your (low volume) e-mail list. Building your base is half the reason to have mass events.
Organizing a large-scale event is a lot of work and demands a celebration afterwards! People stay involved in politically active groups both because of the cause and because of the camaraderie. Make sure that neither of those motives disappears. Also, make sure to leave time after an event (and after the celebration) to discuss successes and failures (or, what you will do differently next time...). Write these down and save them for future reference!
Working with the Media
Media is the most important ally in our efforts. Strategically use the media to get your message out, prepare for upcoming events, and apply pressure. You should get press coverage for as many events as possible.
Your group should designate one or two people to serve as the media contact who will be responsible for all communication with the media on behalf of the group. Contacts should have access to a fax machine (preferably a PC blast fax program), be good at articulating the issues, and dedicated to forming relationships and following up with media contacts. The media contact should have a media list that includes all the contact information for local, regional and national reporters. Your press list should include fax and phone numbers to the newsroom. At the time this manual was being written,  had a handy tool for finding contact info for all the newspapers in a region. Coordination with other schools can come in handy here Ã¢â‚¬â€ if another school already has a media list, choose the outlets that are relevant to your group and build on it. Since our targets are university administrations, school newspapers and alumni magazines are very important. Do not forget the on-campus stringers. These sometimes turn out to be the most reliable reporters and they may also write stories for major papers.
Having a media list is not enough Ã¢â‚¬â€ take time to cultivate a working relationship with reporters and make yourself known as a reliable source of information. Keep track of reporters who are covering your issue, the ones who do it particularly well, and the ones who are sympathetic to your cause. Whenever something new happens (even if it is not worth sending out a press release to everyone), call up the reporters who cover you regularly and let them know what is going on. Journalists often work under tight deadlines Ã¢â‚¬â€ make their jobs easier by presenting information in the form that they are used to seeing and feeding them stories about other interesting things happening on campus.
Avoid jargon Ã¢â‚¬â€ think how you would explain issues to your grandmother (unless your grandma is an expert in the field). Include your name, contact information, and date in every document. Use fax rather than e-mails. Send the material to the attention of specific people if you can. Some of these instructions may seem very basic, but they are important to follow, and easy to forget when you are in a rush. The following are some tried and tested ways of communicating with the media.
Media Advisory: If you have an upcoming event that you would like to be covered, start with sending a media advisory to alert the media a few days before the event. Media outlets receive so many advisories that an incredible number get lost before an editor sees them, so follow up with phone calls the day before the event to make sure the assignment editors got your advisory. The editors do not have time for all callers, so donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be discouraged if they are brusque. Use the opportunity to pitch your story in two or three lines. If they have not seen the advisory, re-fax it t as soon as you hang up. You can also send a calendar announcement to the calendar section of the local/campus newspapers.
Press Release: Send a press release on the day of the event, and follow up with a call, especially to papers who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t send a reporter. Press releases are 2-4 page reports of an event that sounds like a news story written by a sympathetic reporter. Think like a reporter rather than an advocate. Press releases should have a headline, and can include a subheading. The lead paragraph should clearly answer the Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why? questions. Think of an inverted pyramid Ã¢â‚¬â€ information should be included in order of their importance. (See the Appendix for a sample press release.)
Fact Sheet & Backgrounder: Prepare a fact sheet that you can give to reporters who ask for more information or who attend your events. These should be a one- or two-page document that includes a series of bulleted facts. Include statistics and short descriptions. No opinions, just facts! Also prepare a backgrounder, an in-depth discussion of an issue that can be used to inform a reporter who is new to the subject. Backgrounders are usually 3-5 pages long.
Press Kit: Another thing you can prepare and keep handy is press kits. Press kits are pocket folders containing several useful documents, such as press releases, fact sheets, statements, backgrounders, brochures, and other materials. These can be distributed at your events, when the media requests information, or as an introduction to your group. Include a personalized cover note when possible.
Letter to the Editor: You can involve the media even if you do not have an event planned. Send a letter-to-the-editor to your newspaper in response to a story or opinion article. When others criticize your campaign goals or misstate something about your efforts in the school paper, always use the opportunity to correct this in a letter. Include your phone number so that editors can contact you for verification if they choose to print it.
Op-Ed: Send an op-ed to a newspaper, or recruit faculty members and other supporters to pen a piece. Follow up with a phone call to the Opinion Page Editor after a few days. If the newspaper does not accept the op-ed you can submit it to another newspaper, but do not submit to more than one newspaper at once. Make sure you know and follow the newspapersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ submission specifications. For the greatest impact, op-eds should be linked to an upcoming, recently passed or ongoing event. Op-eds allow you time and space to wax philosophical, but remember that your op-ed is part of a strategy: direct the readers towards your goal, unequivocally point out what you want the university to do, and give your issue real meaning: what is the impact of the administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actions in terms of human lives lost?
Editorial Memo: Another option is to send editorial memos to editorial page editors and writers asking them to devote space to the EAL. Once again, make their lives easier by keeping the memos short and including information that can be lifted and used in an editorial.
These examples are mostly geared towards print media, and are by no means an exhaustive list. Be creative Ã¢â‚¬â€ think of photo opportunities. Create Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for local radio stations. If there are negative developments, use them as an opportunity to further your message. If working with radio or TV journalists, think about Ã¢â‚¬Å“soundbitesÃ¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬â€ 10-second blurbs that capture your messages. It is handy to think up a few soundbites before an interview.
Coordinating with Other Schools
As a multi-university initiative, it is important to coordinate with other schools so that we can all be on the same page. It will help us learn from each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s successful strategies, as well as stumbling blocks we can avoid. It will help us to not recreate the proverbial wheel, and make more efficient use of our limited resources. As we have updates on each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s activities, we will be able to send consistent messages and project a unified image.
Events coordinated with other universities, or with local, national, or international organizations, can bring more publicity to your campaign and can levy more pressure on the university. They can also mobilize your base by demonstrating the broader recognition of the importance of the issue. For example, you could coordinate with 5 universities in your region to have a rally on the same day. Always include in your media advisory and press release that your event is part of a citywide/statewide/nationwide day of action. These actions in past years have been much more successful at getting national press.
Maintain contacts at other universities and keep them informed about successful tactics and future plans. There is an active international listserv for university students involved in issues related to access to essential medicines issues. Sign up at http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/univ-list.
To find contacts at other universities not on the listserv, ask friends about other comparable organizations at their schools, look for organizations listed on the university website, or search a university newspaper online for contacts.
Meeting with the administration
Negotiation with the administration is an important tactic in the development of your campaign, but it is rarely the only or final one. You may find sympathetic members of the administration, but always make sure that words are backed up by actions.
Your first contact with the administration will probably be in your research phase, and your first stop should probably be the Technology Transfer Office. The first section of this chapter outlines the technology transfer process, so that you have some background before you go into your first meeting. The second section gives some tips on meeting with the higher level administrators who usually have responsibility for setting university policy.
Meeting with your friendly administrator
When tenants unions go to meet with slumlords in their plush downtown offices, they invariably encounter the same scene. Landlords tell the tenantsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ leaders that their apartments will be fixed soon, that they are concerned for their welfare and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know the buildings were in such bad shape, that they too are struggling to make ends meet. They will smile and get tenants to agree to trivial truths, touch leaders on their arm like they were always good buddies, shake their hands firmly, and act so welcoming that you could not believe that they would intentionally neglect their crumbling buildings. Some university administrators are prone to similar tactics. For this reason it is important to set out clear goals for meetings with admins, and make sure everyone in your group is on the same page.
Early in your campaign, the first step is determining whether the TTO is the right person to deal with. (This will become clearer after youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve met with her a few times.) If the provost is responsible for governing policy at the tech transfer office, then it makes more sense to talk to the provost about the logic of the changes we hope to see implemented. Once you have decided that you are going to meet with your TTO (or provost, or president), set up a meeting and start preparing! Prepping for the meeting is the most important part. Everyone going to the meeting must attend a preparation pre-meeting, no exceptions. At the pre-meeting, the group should draw up a list of goals and commitments that they wants out of the meeting. Unless everyone in the delegation has their eye on the ball, members will be distracted.
The group should also review their position on all of the issues at hand, including what commitments from the admin the group will and will not accept. Any disagreements should be worked out before the meeting. There is nothing worse than going to a meeting and having one member of your delegation disagree with the rest of your group, making it seem like you are not united or disorganized.
A list of questions to ask the administrator should be drawn up at the pre-meeting. Any questions that members of the delegation have beyond this list should be answered at the pre-meeting. It also looks weak, wastes time, and gets the conversation off track when a member of the group asks basic informational questions at meetings. Do not forget, the success of a meeting is measured by the concrete commitments made by the administrator and concrete pieces of information gathered. Draw up your questions and goals with this in mind.
Establish roles for everyone who attends the meeting. This ensures that everything you want to accomplish gets covered. Individuals can be responsible for opening the meeting, keeping the meeting on track, covering the prescribed points on your agenda, and summarizing the meeting before you go.
Anticipate administratorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ questions and arguments in the pre-meeting. It is often helfpul to roleplay, with one person acting as the administrator.
When you finally get to the meeting, the most important thing is to keep to the topic at hand. Admins will often try to go off on tangents. Be polite but direct. Ask specific questions, and do not be afraid to ask them again if you get a politicianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s answer. Just before the end of the meeting, have one person briefly summarize what each side committed to and when your group will contact or meet with the admin again.
After the meeting, debrief immediately. Review what was accomplished and make a plan of action while your thoughts are still fresh.
Some more tips:
- Dress well, be on time, do not interrupt unless necessary, use titles.
- Intimidation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve prepared well for the meeting you should be able to answer most of the administratorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ questions and challenges. If you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sweat it. It is OK to get back to an administrator with the answer to a question you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have on hand.
- Get specific commitments - Do not stand for feet dragging! If your admin agrees to do something, it is fair and expected to ask for a specific timeframe for when that will be done.
- Do not be co-opted - You might run into a situation where the admin seems to agree with you but says they will support you if you do some impossible task, like writing a multi-million dollar grant, or getting the president to come speak on the issue. Sounds crazy, but it happens! If you see this start to happen, be polite, and say something like Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why, Dr. Admin, I think it would be a great thing if we could get Kofi Annan to do a gymnastics routine in support of our cause, but we thought it would also be helpful if the university itself was more committed to policies that supported access to medicines in developing countries.Ã¢â‚¬? Be creative but stick to your point.
- Now that you know lots about TTO's and their job, realize that the policy changes that we are asking tend to be counter to their goals. From a TTOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perspective, UAEM wants to put in barriers to licensing that will make it more difficult to license some technology. A TTO will probably be more worried about their job security or any Ã¢â‚¬Å“deal-breakingÃ¢â‚¬? effect of the EAL than its societal benefit. Because the TTO might perceive your actions as a threat to their job, you might be greeted with hostility from the start. But keep your cool and do not be antagonistic. If you are as respectful as possible and your TTO does not listen to you, does not take concrete action, or does not have authority, aim for the next link up in the hierarchy chain. And the same rules apply as you move up the food chain.
You can run a successful campaign with a budget of $0--copying flyers at the student government office, never serving food at events, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“borrowingÃ¢â‚¬? office supplies--but having money helps. If you do fundraising right the first few times youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make friends that will keep money flowing to your projects. The people you are selling your project to are probably administrators and departmental representatives. Package your product appropriately.
- Draft a preliminary budget - Break your costs down into broad categories like Ã¢â‚¬Å“advertising,Ã¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬Å“honoraria,Ã¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬Å“media services,Ã¢â‚¬? etc., and write down rounded estimates of how much you think youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll spend. Multiply the total by 1.75, which is closer to what you'll actually need. Think of extra things you would buy in the best case scenario and add them to the budget.
- Draft a cover letter - You are not going to get much funding to Ã¢â‚¬Å“radicalize the campusÃ¢â‚¬? but few will discourage you from Ã¢â‚¬Å“increasing student awarenessÃ¢â‚¬? and Ã¢â‚¬Å“promoting constructive dialogue.Ã¢â‚¬? Think about your activism as community service, broadly defined. Do your homework and figure out what makes a particular funder tick: AIDS? Social justice? WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rights? Human rights? Frame your cover letter in those terms. Remember, there are many perfectly legitimate interest groups that are vying for money from the same administrators. Convince them why yours is a worthy cause.
- Proposition in person - Brainstorm which academic departments/administrative offices/religious organizations might fund you and make appointments to meet with the appropriate people. Academic departments will often fund speakers, and student governments, deans offices, and the president, often have discretionary funds available. Friendly relationships with administrators who are not making decisions about the EAL but support your cause can be very helpful.
- Remember your manners - Always say Ã¢â‚¬Å“thank youÃ¢â‚¬? twice. Within 2-3 business days of hearing from a department/program/office, send a handwritten note telling them how much their generous donation of $5, $50, $500, will help make your initiative a success. When you get home from your successful event, send a second thank you note with a brief report on how well things went.
Appendix A: Sample Media Advisory
WROC Knowitall University WorkersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Rights Organizing Committee For Immediate Release: March 2, 2005 Press Contact: Articulate Individual Ph: 555-312-3456 firstname.lastname@example.org KNOWITALL UNIVERSITY WORKERSÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ RIGHTS GROUP WILL RALLY ON ALUMNI DAY AND MARCH TO ALUMNI LUNCHEON On Saturday, February 24th at 11am, Knowitall students, low-wage workers, faculty and religious leaders will rally on Goodyear Plaza in response to the administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reluctance to change their unfair labor practices. At approximately 11:45am, supporters of the workers will march to Physer Gym, where alumni will be holding their Alumni Association Luncheon and Awards Ceremony. Saturday is Alumni and ParentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Day, when over 1,200 alumni and parents of current undergraduates will be on campus, as will several trustees. Students will be handing out literature and buttons throughout the day. The event comes one month after a successful kick-off planned by the WorkersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Rights Organizing Committee (W.R.O.C), a campus group whose goal is to effect changes in the treatment of low-paid University employees. The kick-off event was attended by over 200 university members and precipitated a meeting with administrators last week, at which members of W.R.O.C. were told that the administration was Ã¢â‚¬Å“pretty comfortableÃ¢â‚¬? with their current policies and Ã¢â‚¬Å“unless some dramatic new event occurs, we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see them changing.Ã¢â‚¬? W.R.O.C. has gained the support of over 50 faculty members, campus religious leaders, and KnowitallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s four local assemblymen. WHO: Knowitall University Students, Workers, Faculty, Religious Leaders WHAT: Rally and March on Alumni Day / Parents Weekend WHERE: Goodyear Plaza, in front of Goodyear Library, then march to Physer Gym WHEN: 11am-12:30pm Saturday, February 24th
Appendix B: Sample Press Release
WROC Workers Rights Organizing Committee http://www.knowitall.edu/~wroc Press release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact: Articulate Individual Ph: 555-312-3456 email@example.com February 24, 2001 OVER 400 MEMBERS OF THE KNOWITALL UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY RALLY ON ALUMNI DAY IN REACTION TO ADMINISTRATONÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S STUBBORN NEGLECT OF ITS LOWEST-PAID WORKERS Students, low-wage workers, faculty, religious leaders, state politicians, alumni and parents of current undergraduates at Knowitall University came together today to voice their objections to KnowitallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s treatment of its lowest-paid workers. The rally was a reaction to a meeting held between the administration and the WorkersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Rights Organizing Committee (WROC), in which WROC was told that the administration was Ã¢â‚¬Å“pretty comfortableÃ¢â‚¬? with their current policies and Ã¢â‚¬Å“unless some dramatic new event occurs, we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see them changing. Ã¢â‚¬Å“After 200 members of the community came together for the kickoff event in support of the workers in December, we had hoped that the administration would propose concrete policy changes,Ã¢â‚¬? said Nick Guy, a graduate student member of WROC. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Instead the administrators came to us with no intention of changing most of their policies, and only very vague promises on one issueÃ¢â‚¬â€casual workers. That is not a precedent for a productive series of exchanges. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a precedent for empty parlor conversation.Ã¢â‚¬? Over 400 members of the university community gathered in Goodyear Plaza for speeches from workers, student government leaders and supportive faculty. They then chanted and marched to Physer Gym and handed informational literature and supportive buttons to alumni who were walking into an awards luncheon. WROCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission has the official endorsement of dozens of prominent faculty members, religious leaders and state politicians. Vice President of Finance and Administration Dick Spook recently wrote in a guest column for the Daily Knowitallian, that Ã¢â‚¬Å“The clearest example of an area where we need to do better involves the employment of casual workers.Ã¢â‚¬Â¦I believe that changes will need to be made.Ã¢â‚¬? Yet, on every other issue, including outsourcing, cost of living adjustments, night shift compensation, and health benefits, the administration has not been willing to budge. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is an issue of morality and prudence,Ã¢â‚¬? said Rebecca Stein, a senior who spoke at the event. Ã¢â‚¬Å“On the one hand, Knowitall has not treated its workers with respect at the same time that it has the means to do so. On the other hand, the entire community suffers when morale is low and workers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the compensation they deserve. We invest so much in our physical capital. Now we need to make an investment in our human capital.Ã¢â‚¬? At the same time that KnowitallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s endowment has quadrupled and the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s salary has nearly doubled, the wages of KnowitallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lowest-paid workers have fallen behind inflation over the last ten years. The current administration has further endangered base salaries by basing increases on subjective performance reviews. WROC has proposed that performance reviews be linked to bonuses, and that workers who work hard enough to be kept on as employees be assured a base salary that keeps pace with inflation. Jennifer Salamander, a junior and one of the organizers of the event said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cost of living adjustments just make sense. For a faculty member who is firmly situated in the uppermiddle class, performance reviews donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have much of an effect on their well being. For janitors and dining hall workers who are just scraping by, it means a lot more. Knowitall is supposed to be a community, but a large part of the community is being left behind.Ã¢â‚¬? Knowitall dining hall workers supporting a family of four qualify for food stamps, and casual workers are in even more dire straits. At the last meeting with administrators students were told that workers who work weekends are not given extra compensation because Ã¢â‚¬Å“SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are not sacred.Ã¢â‚¬? WROC has held that many Christians and Jews would disagree. For more information on specific concerns and proposed solutions sent to the Board of Trustees in WROCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s report, visit http://www.knowitall.edu/~wroc.
Appendix C: Sample Affiliation Form
Students for Essential Medicines Statement of Support Students for Essential Medicines (SEM) is a coalition of Knowitall University students, faculty, staff and clergy dedicated to improving access to essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries. SEM will seek to persuade the administration to address this serious problem in a manner commensurate with KnowitallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ethical responsibilities and financial strength. SEM will simultaneously initiate a campaign of public pressure and non-violent activism to this end. By signing this pledge, your campus group: 1. Acknowledges the importance of addressing the issue of access to essential medicines at Knowitall University. 2. Supports the efforts of SEM in bringing to the attention of students and administrators some of the currently negligent and unfair practices. 3. Endorses SEMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s specific demands, reprinted on the reverse side of this statement. 4. Agrees to inform its membership about events and announcements as SEM continues its campaign for fair treatment. 5. Agrees to send a representative to SEM meetings whenever possible. SEM may circulate a list of the organizations and individuals that have endorsed its demands with its public statements, press releases and letters. It is crucial for our effort to earn the support of as many different campus organizations as possible. Please seriously consider this request for your support Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this is an issue that we can make a difference on and cannot ignore any longer. Name of organization: ____________________________________ Name of representative(s): ________________________________ Date: _________________
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines "Equitable Access License Organizing Manual, v1.1" Written by: Emi MacLean Janina Morrison Alexander J. Post Luna Ranjit David Scales Rene Shen David Tannenbaum with supplementary materials and support from Sanjay Basu and Adam Sitze Edited by: David Tannenbaum Janina Morrison Amy Kapczynski Luna Ranjit Updated September 24, 2004. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
"Changing the Wind" excerpt from Jim Wallis, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It (Harper Collins, 2005), pp. 20-23. Copyright 2005 by Jim Wallis.