The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

The Eagle

Fast Facts: Jacob Sprang, STAND’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer, is a senior at the College of William and Mary where he’s studying International Relations and Economics. He also drives a pretty cool PT Cruiser with an American Eagle decal.

Why did you first get involved in STAND and how have you been involved since then?
I first got heavily involved in STAND two years ago after an internship with the Enough Project. Through the internship, I became involved in the Conflict Free Campus Initiative, and then branched out to STAND’s other initiatives and actions.

Name a favorite STAND memory! 
My favorite STAND memory has to be the MC retreats. A moment that sticks out to me the most was when Jack, our campaigns coordinator, Sonia, our communications coordinator, and myself were hanging out on the roof of STAND’s office building after our January retreat had finished. I remember really struggling to leave DC because the retreat had been so much fun. Luckily my car battery died so I got to stay with some of the other MC members in DC for an extra hour or two.

What has your experience being on the MC been like?
My experience in the MC has been amazing. Everyone in the MC is so intelligent, passionate and talented. I’m honestly inspired by all of them, and I’m constantly learning things from them.

Can you tell us a little about what you do in your role as Regional Organizer?
As Regional Organizer, I am responsible for outreach and chapter organization. I spend my time reaching out to potential new chapters, while also working with and supporting existing chapters in my region. I work with other regional organizers to develop weekly outreach strategies. Finally, I act as a link between our chapters and our programmatic operations, providing feedback from chapters regarding our campaigns and events.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from your time in STAND, whether as a result of your experiences with your chapter, or being involved on the national level?
From my time in STAND, I’ve learned a lot. But what sticks out the most is that there are so many amazing and passionate students and young people around the country working to make an impact in the name of genocide and atrocity prevention. To me, that’s awesome and it warms my heart every time I get overwhelmed by the negativity associated with genocide and atrocity prevention work.

Interested in joining our Student Leadership Team next year? Apply today!

The Power of Collaboration (And a Meeting with Special Envoy Feingold!)

This post is a collaboration between our Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer Jacob Sprang, and Chelsea Strelser, the Mid-Atlantic Campus Organizer for the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI), who both attend William & Mary College. It’s also a call for you to join CFCI and STAND by signing on to an open letter from students across the country addressed to Special Envoy Russ Feingold. By signing on, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for the chance to travel to Washington, DC and represent the entire student movement by hand delivering the letter to Special Envoy Feingold in a private meeting.

Last year, I met Chelsea Strelser when I attended my first meeting for William & Mary’s STAND chapter. Fresh off a summer internship with the Enough Project, I was excited to begin combating mass atrocities and genocide across the globe. Today, I am STAND’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer and Chelsea is the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI) Campus Organizer for the same region. CFCI is is a nationwide campaign to build the student consumer voice for electronics free of minerals that finance conflict in eastern Congo. This semester, Chelsea and I have been working together to organize and promote actions that emphasize peace and security throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our collaboration as student organizers has been incredibly important for our work in the mass atrocities prevention movement.

Working with Chelsea has been fantastic. Because so many schools have STAND chapters, CFCI chapters, or both, our capacity for reaching out to student advocates and activists has increased. Our partnership has helped us reach out to new schools, build our mutual networks, and get the word out about exciting action opportunities that STAND and CFCI initiate.

One of our important collaborations is the campaign to get the Virginia Association of State College & University Purchasing Professional, the procurement board for Virginia public colleges, to pass a statewide conflict-free resolution. By pooling our resources and contacts, Chelsea and I have built a strong network of students across the state that will be invaluable in achieving this goal, and in building momentum around the long-term goal of a peaceful and secure eastern DRC.

Now, we’re coming together to advocate around another joint initiative. We’ve partnered to push forward a sign-on letter targeted at Russ Feingold, the newly appointed Special Envoy to Africa’s Great Lakes region, urging him to make peace and security in Democratic Republic of Congo a priority. This is a critical moment in U.S. policy towards the DRC, and we’re calling for the promotion of regional cooperation, the growth of an active civil society, and security sector reform, as well as changing economic incentives from violence to peace. And we need your help.

We strongly urge you to sign this letter as a representative of your school. The more schools we can get signed on to the letter, the larger impact we will have. Moreover, we want you to be part of this international call for action! One lucky signatory will be chosen at random to hand deliver the letter to Special Envoy Feingold himself. Don’t miss this opportunity to hand deliver this letter, and represent our generation’s call for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo!

Chelsea and I believe that we can accomplish much more as a movement than as a single organization acting alone. We’ve seen this play out first hand at William & Mary and within our region. I believes that the STAND / CFCI relationship is crucial in order to maximize our shared desire for peace in the DRC.

Sign on to the letter to Special Envoy Russ Feingold now by entering your name, email, and school here and you will automatically be eligible to win the chance to represent the face of the student movement in Washington, DC. Let’s raise our collective voice for a peaceful and secure eastern Congo!

The Conflict-Free Campus Initiative is a project of Enough’s Raise Hope for Congo and STAND. Feel free to contact CFCI Coordinator Annie Callaway with any questions about the drawing for the letter delivery to Special Envoy Feingold.