When I joined the STAND Leadership Team, I had no idea what this summer would be like. After just a few months as Maryland SOC, I was certain that being ROC would be much like SOC, except a bit more intense—mostly because you get a whole new range of responsibilities— and have to support both chapters and your SOC’s. However, I was more concerned with the first part, interacting with chapters—would chapters want to talk to me? Would I engage them enough to have them actually want to respond to the items in our newsletters? How on earth was I going to handle an entire region? After feeling a bit overwhelmed and with the support of my NOC Charlotte and the former Mid-Atlantic ROC, Nick –now your STAND Director—I was able to focus on exactly the job I had to do.
Just last week I began to speak to the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy about establishing a genocide education program in a DC elementary or high school with potential guidance from the GWU STAND chapter (and of course any other DC schools who might be interested!) We are currently on our way to monthly genocide education classes taught by a STAND chapter member and a Darfur genocide survivor. This will give students the opportunity to learn about genocide from both an activist’s eyes and through the lens of someone who has lived through the atrocity of genocide. I am hoping that we can create programs similar to this in at least four other schools across the Mid-Atlantic region in the coming months.
In Maryland, chapters have become more active than ever—more than three chapters around the state have recently been in touch— hoping to revitalize their chapters and engage their campus communities. I like to hope that my own chapter will take the lead again this year and help other chapters empower themselves as a group in the way they have. Of course, I’m a bit partial to my own chapter, but I have good reason to be. This summer our Divestment Director is hard at work, investigating Hopkins divestment patterns, in an attempt to connect it to Sudan divestment. Our new STAND Coordinator for the fall semester is actively recruiting members from other clubs on campus and revamping our genocide education plan, I couldn’t be prouder to be part of my chapter. In Pennsylvania, I have had the pleasure of interacting with a dedicated leader who although is currently in South Africa keeps me informed of his chapter plans for the fall and will be working on a comprehensive plan that he has asked me to look over once he returns. All around I see the Mid-Atlantic chapters formulating plans, thinking critically and asking to be connected to activists across the region through engaging themselves in our SEAL Campaign and Summer Action Pack. I can’t wait to continue to work with such amazing activists and people on behalf of the people of Darfur.