Why You Should Apply for the 2011-2012 STAND MC
Name: Ashton Simmons
School: DePauw University, 2011
Position: National Education Coordinator
How and why did you get involved in STAND?
During my sophomore year, I took a class on humanitarian intervention and genocide. Working as an intern at the social justice office on campus, I decided to turn my efforts toward anti-genocide activism. I actually discovered STAND while doing research online. Fortunately, it was about a week before the 2009 Pledge2Protect Conference, so I booked a last minute ticket to DC and haven’t looked back since.
Why did you apply to be on the STAND MC?
About half way through the 2009 P2P Conference, I knew that I wanted to get more involved with STAND. I wasn’t sure if someone as inexperienced in the movement as myself could apply for the MC – who appeared to me as the epitome of student activists – but my Regional Outreach Coordinator encouraged me to apply. Applying for the position of Education Coordinator was a no-brainer for me: my mom is a teacher, and I was raised with a great appreciation of education, something that was only amplified by my experience with STAND. Because how can you effectively advocate unless you understand what you are advocating for? How can you effectively fundraise unless you know what you are fundraising for? How can you effectively bring about change unless you understand what you are trying to change and what you want to change it to? For me, education is the foundation of our movement.
What was the most fun experience you’ve had as an MC member?
By far the most fun I have had on the MC has been interacting with the other MC members. They are some of the most inspiring, intelligent, driven, and yet absolutely hilarious people I have ever meet. I have never worked with a group of people who can accomplish so much and yet never stop having fun while doing it.
How has being on the MC changed you? How has it prepared you for your next step in life?
Being on the MC taught me, perhaps more than any other work experience – and trust me, I have had quite a few – how an organization works. Gaining that sort of insight is indispensible for future positions, whether within an NGO or not. My experience also taught me immensely about communication of all forms. Whether in person, on the phone, on a conference call, through email, on g-chat, via text, on twitter or on facebook, MC members are constantly communicating. Working with people from all over the country can be a challenge, but it forces you to learn effective communication in many forms.