Sometimes finding student organizations to partner with on an issue can be difficult. But no matter the topic, there are ways that your group can frame an event to incorporate other organizations without having to compromise your group's position on an issue.
Perhaps your chapter wants to do a tabling or activism event focused on U.S. foreign policy. To reach more people and access more resources, you decide you want to partner with another group on campus. But other political groups on campus don't completely align themselves with a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy. Instead of attempting to bridge a gap in beliefs by watering down your message, frame your event in a way that's more dynamic and incorporates an organization you may not typically work with.
Have no fear; this type of partnership is easier and more rewarding than you might think. Here’s a success story from UW-Madison as an example.
Recently, YAL at UW-Madison wanted to talk about foreign policy in a more relatable way. We were able to narrow our focus of the event to illustrate and inform how excessive military intervention compounds the rates of mental health problems among veterans. To make the event more comprehensive and broaden our audience, we partnered with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), a mental health student organization on our campus.
Group leaders from YAL and NAMI met and discussed how we could put on an event that would represent both of our organizations’ viewpoints and goals effectively. After some brainstorming, we decided that YAL would take a preventative and political approach to the issue, by advocating for a non-interventionist foreign policy that would keep service men and women from experiencing the horrific effects of war in the first place.
Our YAL members informed students about the expansive involvement of the U.S. military abroad and the various conflicts that service men and women are currently engaged in. We also discussed with students the effects that war has on the mental health of veterans and handed out flyers that illustrated the high rates of depression, PTSD, and suicide among veterans.
NAMI provided a treatment focused approach to the issue by informing the campus community about different resources available for veterans who are struggling mentally or emotionally as a result of war, and how to create an effective dialogue to address such a sensitive topic.
Our different approaches to the issue allowed us the freedom to represent our organizations effectively, while providing the campus community with more than just a political perspective on foreign policy.
The event was received well by the large audience that we were able to reach that afternoon. And members of both groups enjoyed working together and learning from each other about different issues we were interested in.
Partnerships don't have to be a headache. Events don't have to be purely political. Discover alternative approaches to important topics so that you can work with other organizations to expand your audience and confront an issue in a multifaceted way.