For members of STAND’s Managing Committee, this semester’s “STAND 2.0” development process has raised a number of critical questions about STAND’s role as a student constituency organization, grassroots network, and political will-building mechanism. Frequently, our continuous drive for political participation and influence builds unreasonable expectations about the scope of our impact. The STAND 2.0 process was directed towards reconciling the ambitions of our student activists with our value-added as members of the “anti-genocide movement,” and bolstering our ability to effectively mobilize our grassroots constituency to effect political change. Having participated in the development of STAND 2.0, I can confidently say that our outreach infrastructure has been reconceived to meet precisely those goals.
This new process has entirely reevaluated the roles of STAND’s bureaucracy, overhauling the outreach infrastructure to enable STAND National to more directly resource, train, and respond to the needs of our grassroots communities around the country. We have deconstructed our regional outreach structure, giving STAND’s outreach components a greater voice on the Managing Committee and a more direct link to local STAND activists. STAND activists will now have access to the same resources as our Regional and State Outreach Coordinators once had: retreats, training sessions with grassroots outreach professionals, and full support from GI-NET staff. We will now host an annual STANDCamp, which will bring together activists from across the country for a week of activism training and education about our conflicts of concern. In addition, we have bolstered STAND’s Rapid Responders program, which will allow us to cultivate more direct relationships with our advocacy targets and effectively respond to developments on the ground in
Such developments cannot function as stand-alone accomplishments of the STAND MC. In order to continue to develop STAND as an organization and grassroots network, we need the full participation of activists across the country. STAND will continue to grow only as a result of the full use of the resources that the STAND MC and GI-NET staff will provide.