Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 7:00 am, Gregory Jouvenat, Staff Writer
Cal Poly Pomona held Activism 101, a workshop that focused on teaching students how to be more active with current political issues on campus on Feb. 29.
David Romero, an independent contractor and spoken word artist, showed students how to make a difference in a campus setting.
“I was pretty open minded; I wasn’t too sure about what exactly was going to happen,” said Steven Ochoa, a second-year mechanical engineering student. “I knew we were going to be informed about activism and ways to participate in activism and how to get more involved.”
According to Romero, the Activism 101 workshop is an event that is set around teaching students how to organize through political campaign methods to see the change on their campus. Romero teaches students how to interact with campus administrators, how to recruit fellow students, how to set goals and how to contact the media.
“I can be more aware of certain things that I can do to help the community in terms of activism or in terms in leadership,” said Sara Delgado, a sixth-year anthropology student. “But I have heard him speak before, so when I saw his name, I was like ‘oh he’s cool,’ so that’s why I came.”
After Romero started the workshop off with a poem, he went on to tell his tale of transitioning from a conservative to an activist. He was a film student at USC sitting in a class when a man spoke about an organization that focused on two important issues on the campus. Romero ended up joining the organization as the president, and he went on to be exposed to a number of other causes that he cared about.
After he recounted his roots in activism, Romero went on to outline the necessary steps that activists need to take to enact change. Activists first need to identify what they are fighting for and set goals to solve the issue, said Romero. After the cause and goal has been set, activists must start to recruit members of the public into their organizations.
Activists must then take their issues to the attention of the various decision makers on campus to either gain allies for the cause or to convince administrators to change their policies. If the administration is less than agreeable, activists can escalate the movement with actions, such as setting up meetings, petitions, boycotting, protesting or sit-ins, said Romero.
“They can do it, no matter who they are or what experience they have,” said Romero. “They can do it if they just go through with it, if they stay focused and if they stay hopeful. They’re going to make mistakes, and through the process of making mistakes, we learn. If we just keep fighting, we will find ways to effect change.”
At the end of the workshop, attendees split off into four groups to develop activist campaigns for current social issues at CPP. Students had a chance to plan for movements such as Save Spadra, Black Lives Matter, improved transportation around campus and opening a resource center for undocumented students.
“A lot of times in activism you’ll find that organizing is an end in and of itself,” said Romero. “The friends that you make, the people that you meet the consciousness that you develop within yourself and within others can definitely be an end in and of itself.”
The Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers, through the Bronco Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development Program, hosted the workshop. According to Oronne Nwaneri, coordinator of leadership and student involvement at OSLCC, the Bronco LEAD program is a campus-wide leadership program that is open to all students. Students can participate in workshops and earn co-curricular credit through myBar.