Home   »  Main Areas of Focus  »  Boycott & Divestment  »  Boycott & Divestment Action Alert ...  »  Fall 2009 Campus Organizing Tour

Vision for the tour

Last year, our anti-apartheid speaking tour, Separate Is Never Equal, we had 10 events on campuses and forged relationships with amazing groups of students and faculty across the country.  This year, we want to build on the education done during Separate Is Never Equal by spending more time with a few select campuses and implementing intensive training to support groups organizing for boycott and divestment campaigns on campuses.

We know that boycott and divestment campaigns (BDS) require real time and energy investments and we want to work closely with campus communities to develop leadership in student groups, solidify connections with supportive faculty and build coalitions between campuses and community groups working to unify campaigns in selected cities.

The tour is being organized with consultation from Hampshire College Students for Justice in Palestine - the only campus group to have successfully divested from Israel's illegal military occupation.  We will bring the lessons learned during Hampshire's two-year campaign to campuses across the country and build a support network for campuses organizing BDS campaigns.  The US campaign will commit to working side-by-side with groups in the selected cities before, during and after the tour to build sustainable BDS campaigns modeled after the work that was done to end apartheid in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s.

Regardless of what investments your university may hold there are myriad ways to get involved in BDS.  We will offer students, faculty and community groups a full menu of options, from divesting from war profiteers like Caterpillar, to boycotting Motorola on campus, to selective purchasing like having campus food service buy Palestinian olive oil.

Ideally, the tour will spend three days in each city using the following model:

  • Day One: Should include a large public event to raise awareness.  This event could be a film screening, a panel discussion, or debate.  The US Campaign will provide support finding speakers or films to show.  Local hosts (you and your coalition partners) will be responsible for the logistics of this event.  Logistics include, but are not limited to finding/paying for a venue and publicizing the event.
    Day one should also include some sort of low-key social event, like a pot-luck or reception after the public event.  This is important because we want to build a strong relationship between the US Campaign's national organizer and the folks actually doing boycott/divestment work on the ground.  The social event will be a time to get to know each other as people as well as familiarizing ourselves with national and local contexts for boycott & divestment work.
  • Day Two: Will focus on training.  Day two will be an opportunity for the US Campaign trainers to work one-on-one with the people who are actually committed to doing the work of a sustainable boycott/divestment campaign.
    The workshops presented during day two will change depending on the needs of each campus, but possible topics include: boycott & divestment 101, how to research your school's investments, how to research war-profiteers, how to engage campus administrators, coalition building, leadership development and mentoring, how to engage alumni, dealing with opposition, using the media, and creative arts in activism.  The US Campaign national organizer will work with selected campuses in advance of the tour to select which workshops are appropriate for your situation; it is envisioned that each city would have four one-hour workshops on day two.
    The US Campaign will provide resources and trainers for day two workshops.  Local organizers (you and your coalition) are responsible for reserving (and paying for) the space to hold workshops.
  • Day Three: Will focus on Action.  On day three the US Campaign national organizer and interested folks on your campus will put what we learned on day two into practice.  Activities for day three will be determined by the group on day two.  Possibilities for day three activites include, but are not limited to: leafletting on campus to build support for boycott and divestment, protesting at a corporate target, and cooperatively writing an action plan for your campus's boycott/divestment campaign.
This model may not be applicable to all campuses, but it is what we are striving to achieve.  If your group does not have the resources to host a large public event on "day one" that does not disqualify you from consideration.

Start planning now to bring our tour to your community.  Build a coalition of groups to apply to host together - reach out to Muslim Student Associations, Amnesty International Chapters, Peace Studies Departments, sympathetic faculty and community groups.

If you're not involved with a campus community you can still support the tour by making a tax-deductible donation to make these ideas reality.  Click here to make a contribution toward our Fall 2009 campus organizing tour.