STAND Camp Day One!
By Advocacy Coordinator Maria Thomson
Yesterday was Day One of STAND’s second annual STAND Camp, marking the start of a highly anticipated four-day weekend filled with team-building, education, and advocacy training activities. Awaiting the arrival of Core Chapter Leaders in the afternoon, the new STAND MC prepared a detailed plan of action for this fall and winter, with goals including maintaining Sudan as a priority issue and supporting upcoming genocide prevention legislation.
After our campers had arrived and settled into their rooms, Tom Andrews, president of the newly merged United to End Genocide, kicked off the weekend with an introduction to his personal path to anti-genocide activism and an account of his recent experiences touring Africa and Sudan, in particular. Then students broke out into small groups (go Team Purple!) to get to know each other, and shook off travel fatigue in ice-breakers ranging from tag to ninja to doing “the dougie.”
Photo credit: Martha Bixby, GI-Net/SDC Coalition
After a discussion of STAND’s “theory of change” and a delectable dinner courtesy of the folks here at the Pearlstone Retreat Center, the night concluded with a terrific discussion on the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. Core chapter leaders currently organizing conflict-free campus campaigns offered great advice and insights on the challenges in working on these campaigns, such as the need to consider the complexities of the mining population in the Congo and how blanket boycotts on Congo mineral companies can negatively affect innocent civilians (props to Jenn, Daren, and Hannah on this one).
In the end, the day was a great start to CCLs beginning to meet each other, learn about and practice team work, and collaborate on the issues at hand. After such a successful first day, we’re all looking forward to spending the rest of the weekend in some amazing company!