So much of campus activism can be siloed from the issues of surrounding communities. Our leaders partner strategically with community organizations to tackle work that students and other community members have a shared stake in. Students are able to take on much larger campaigns, and community organizations gain more support and leadership from students. Community organizations lend stability to ever-shifting student organization leadership through relationships to staff and community leaders and access to resources like training.
Multi-Issue Organizations and Strategic Issue Campaigns
From private police accountability to combating predatory financial aid policies, our campus chapters run strategic campaigns that energize students, make real changes in people’s lives, and build toward greater structural change. Because these chapters are multi-issue, they are able to build long-term power and unite diverse groups of students around a common intersectional analysis.
Leadership Development and Transformational Organizing
One of our most defining features is our dedication to training, leadership development, and mentorship. All of our key leaders receive transformational leadership training and 1:1 mentorship, through which they are challenged to see themselves in a new light, shifting their relationship to power and to grow as leaders. All of this work is grounded in deep relationships between one another — we are only powerful together, and we work to create a culture of discipline and accountability grounded in that belief.
Strategic Electoral Engagement
We believe that moving a radical progressive agenda in the U.S. requires building electoral power we can use to hold politicians accountable to us and our agenda, not their wealthy corporate donors. Student Action leaders take electoral engagement seriously, often partnering with community-based political organizations to run voter engagement programs that elect movement candidates and our own people into office. The support provided by People’s Action – including a candidate pipeline program, leadership training, and mentorship – develops pathways for young people to run for office, further energizing youth electoral engagement, which we see as a key strategy for reshaping the battlefield as we push for deeper structural change.
Mass Mobilization and Culture Change
While our organizing model is based in organizations, we also believe that mass mobilization is critical to achieve the kind of deep change our society needs. This type of mobilization has been critical to student movements in the past and present. In Chile, students used a strong national student infrastructure to mobilize hundreds of thousands in the streets for free higher education—and a united movement against austerity has put former student leaders into government and transformed the political landscape. In order to win ambitious demands like forgiveness for student debt, or free public higher education, we need to put hundreds of thousands of students in the streets.