organising in a college town

Discussion in 'Higher Ed' started by David54, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. David54

    David54 Member

    I don't go to school. But I live in a city of 50,000 people with over 20,000 students. The school kinda dominates local culture, and it's really frustrating. It's so hard to organise with college kids. They're so flaky and wishy washy. And then when I do get a group together and running, they all leave within four years. What's the point? In order for an organisation to continue to exist, it has to concentrate so much on recruitment that it doesn't get much else done.

    Recently, I've been organising much smaller, more focused groups. We've been getting a lot done. More than I used to get done working with huge amounts of flaky students.

    Any thoughts?
  2. artful_dodger

    artful_dodger Member

    I'm one of the founders of my local IndyMedia collective. Most of our core collective are college students; and, yeah, it's hard.

    We're going to be testing out task-oriented working groups soon. This isn't the same kind of huge commitment that regular general meetings are, and I think we'll get more involvement that way.

    I guess part of my advice would be to reach beyond the usual groups. I've started dropping off flyers and issues of our print publication in local laudromats, for instance.

    What kind of groups are you organizing for?
  3. David54

    David54 Member

    I mostly organise Food not Bombs and community gardenning.
  4. artful_dodger

    artful_dodger Member

    Ahh... FNB has had a really hard time around here keeping up membership.

    With the community gardening, is there a way that you can do task-oriented single-day commitment things? Maybe a weeding party one day, a planting party another?

    Other than that, I've pretty much run dry on ideas.

    Sorry I can't be more help.:(
  5. David54

    David54 Member

    The community gardenning network has the least problem with turnover of any organisation I've been with. It also has almost no college students. Well OK, Aaron is taking a course this semester and James is going to graduate school in CT once a month. But anyway, I don't consider this a coincidence. Aaron sais that he might be leaving in a few months to... go to college in Colorado.

    And we work on a full range of commitment. People can and often do just show up for one work party and that's it. It usually takes a couple of months for someone to become more commited.

    I don't think that it's just college kids. I was talking about this with my friend Marcus (who's about to leave FNB because he has to study more). He persuaded me to the opinion that it's more to do with kids in our age range. Let's face it. Kids are flaky. They don't really know what they want to do, so they are constantly changing their minds and lifestyles. There's nothing wrong with that. People have to experiment. But by concentrating all of the young adults in college towns, it puts me in the frustrating possition of living in a town made up half of flaky kids.

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