CHANGE STARTS WITH A PASSION

HELPING STUDENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Life is not a dress rehearsal. Stop practicing what you're going to do and just go do it. --Marilyn Grey

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. --D. H. Lawrence

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. --Carl W. Buechne

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. --Winston Churchill

A passive and ignorant citizenry will never create a sustainable world. --Andrew Gaines

Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door. --Kyle Chandler

POLITICAL ACTION

After you have a solidified campaign goal think about the most important audiences you need to reach. One important audience is the government. There are many ways you can spread awareness about your cause through politics. By engaging with government officials and your politicians you can use your voice to impact legislation on a local or national level.

An important first step is to decide what level of government you want to involve.

  • Local: city officials
  • State-wide: state legislators
  • National: Senators, Congressmen, federal bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency, White House Council on Women and Girls and US Department of Education
  • International: US State Department

Before trying to contact a few key people about your issue, there are a few things you need to do to be ready for your meeting: prepare your elevator speech and a one page explanation on why this issue is important to you and other constituents, your proposed solution and how the person you are meeting with can easily support you.

Build a team by collaborating with members of your community who care about the same issue OR by partnering with a nonprofit that lobbies for the same cause. Do some research to see what kind of groups are already established and reach out by offering to help.

There are many ways to get in contact with your politicians or members from their offices. Don’t be afraid to call their office directly and ask to either schedule a conference call or in-person meeting. Politicians serve their constituents and want to hear from people, ESPECIALLY young people! Attend town halls and local office hours, send emails and handwritten letters, or volunteer your time working on politicians’ campaigns to get an “in”.

IME

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Levin PictureBecause palm oil is an internationally traded commodity I needed to engage many different politicians and federal bodies. When I was in Washington D.C. for a conference, I scheduled a meeting with my congressmen to share my story. I also contacted and met with State Department Officials who work on agricultural and environmental issues as well as staff who work with countries who produce palm oil (Colombia, Indonesia and Malaysia).

 

Because the United Nations Forum on Forests supported my campaign, I was even able to speak with Lisa Jackson, who at that time served as the President of the Environmental Protection Agency!

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MA

Use your youth to your advantage. Not many young people reach out to their elected representatives so take advantage of this opportunity and be persistent. Read the news and follow campaigns so that you can take an active role in deciding your own political views and agenda.