Avoiding the Pitfalls of Slacktivism

Written by Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator

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Have you fallen prey to the slacktivist mentality?

Wikipedia tells us that the term slacktivism “describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.”

Examples? Signing an online petition, ‘liking’ a Facebook post, re-tweeting an article, or sharing a video or an article on your page. These are all activities that, although they may be well intentioned evolve around good causes, cannot substitute old-fashioned, real-world active participation in a cause. These “actions” may ease our guilt of being inactive in a cause, but one cannot simply “like” a Facebook post and then wipe our hands and say our work is done. However: this could be a good first step.

Can we use this slacktivist mentality for the greater good?

We need to meet people where they are at right now. Given our technology-saturated culture, most people are probably currently on their computers or smartphones. So let’s start where they are, and move them to action with a touch of their screen or a click of a mouse. But I know that human beings are capable of much more than moving their fingers.

Don’t get me wrong – keep liking and sharing our NCLN Facebook posts and re-tweeting our tweets! Your social media feed may be the first and only place that someone in your network hears the pro-life message. But don’t stop there. Talk face to face with someone about what you have heard or learned.

My challenge to you:

READ this post. LIKE it on our National Campus Life Network page. SHARE it on your page. But don’t stop there. I challenge you to speak to TWO PEOPLE this week about abortion. They could be friends or classmates who you’ve never spoken to about the issue, or even the person next to you on the bus.  Share your truth-sharing conversations with the hashtag #2PersonChallenge – you’ll be surprised as to what a difference one conversation can make in someone’s attitude towards abortion. Share these stories on social media and in the comments below!

Your story can be a simple impacting moment, such as this student’s story:

After telling my classmate that I was headed to a pro-life club meeting, I asked her what she thought about abortion. After I discussed the humanity of the pre-born with her, she was amazed at their development so early in the pregnancy, and couldn’t believe that there are no abortion laws in Canada! #2PersonChallenge

Move your club members to action, as well as those two people you reach out to, by encouraging them to take up the #2PersonChallenge as well! If each of us takes on this challenge, think of how our efforts will multiply!

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1 Million and 1 Reasons to Have Weekly Planning Meetings

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Directorplanning meetings meme

A look of horror is sometimes what I get when I give pro-life campus leaders a critical recommendation for improving their club – both in the sense of developing a larger club membership AND in terms of effectiveness on campus: weekly planning meetings. I can imagine what’s running through their minds:

“club planning meetings are long and exhausting and I don’t have any more time and everyone’s already overwhelmed and people forget about meetings and wouldn’t it be easier to do it all over email anyway and…this will never work.”

But hear me out: from personal experience and from years of experience with students nationally, I can tell you that they will actually make your life easier, not harder. And they work. And when there are 300 pre-born lives being destroyed through abortion daily, a weekly meeting doesn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice.

 But if you need some compelling reasons to convince your fellow club members of the need for weekly planning meetings, we’ve got you covered:

(1) Consistency Cuts Down on the Time You Spend Organizing Meetings:

 Does it sometimes seem like it takes eons to organize a meeting with your team members? And then half the people forget and don’t even show up? Weekly meetings helps cut down organizing time AND people are less likely to forget.

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The Amazing Doodle Tool!

Because, if you’re meeting at the same time and the same location every week, it becomes a regular part of their schedule, like a class or extracurricular activity. And it saves time because you don’t have to deal with massive email threads every couple weeks to figure out a meeting time/date! Depending on your school’s set-up, you might even be able to book that timeslot/location one time for the entire semester!

Organize the weekly meetings in advance by having the club secretary set-up a Doodle, the club exec members can fill in their availability according to their class schedule, and you can find the best time for the most amount of people. Then stick to that time/day/location for the rest of the semester!

* Extra tip: One student leader recommends texting members before the weekly meeting. It “reminds your members that they are important as you’re reaching out to them to check if they’re coming.”

(2) Delegating tasks is easier and tasks actually get done:

 It’s much much easier to divvy up tasks during a group discussion in-person, rather than over email. And consider when people (including yourself) actually do the tasks they were delegated – probably the day before, morning of, or 5 minutes before the meeting. So, if you’re meeting weekly, generally speaking, tasks are going to get done on a weekly basis at the very least. Planning, staying on top of your activities, and seeing your goals become realities depend on work getting done regularly (weekly!).

(3) More fun: 

Seriously. If you’re meeting weekly, your meetings are going to be shorter (in most cases, keep it under an hour!), less frustrating, and less overwhelming. Your weekly meeting should feel like a boost to your week as you reconnect with your team members, encourage one another in your pro-life mission (both in terms of your club activities and in your classes, among your friends, etc.), and feel a sense of accomplishment as you stay on track with your goals.

(4) It actually works:

In my own experience and in the experience of students we’ve worked with nationwide, weekly meetings actually work. Every time a club has started weekly meetings, good things happen. But don’t take my word for it, or the rest of the NCLN staff members’ word, or the word of other student leaders – just try it. Contact your NCLN Campus Coordinator with any questions you might have about running weekly meetings or even have us Skype in on some of your meetings for 10-20 minutes to help out with planning, give feedback, and answer questions!

(5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…..a million…and 1) It’s worth it:

We’re all busy people, balancing school with part-time jobs, family, friends, and extra-curriculars. But if we know that 100,000 abortions are taking place in Canada each year, if we know that our age demographic is undergoing the most abortions in Canada, if we know that our universities matter in terms of building a true Culture of Life, then taking an hour each week to unite as a team and work on making a difference is not too much to ask.

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