A reflection by Kristin Walter, co-founder of FeelGood and Crew 2030, in the wake of International Women’s Day.
When recently asked by Her Campus, “What are ways college-aged women can become activists on their campus?”, I thought I could answer by listing organizations I find inspiring. But I would rather share what my experience and my global community have taught me about “being the change we wish to see in the world.” Here are a few takeaways.
Ask yourself, “What is the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible?”
This question and the title of Charles Eisenstein’s most recent book is a heart-centered approach to uncovering the vision you have for the world. Because it comes from the heart, your answer will come with the courage you need to take steps towards co-creating that world. Our hearts know that the immense human, ecological, economic, and spiritual suffering rampant in our world is not our destiny. Whether in a small or large way, we have experienced the power of kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, forgiveness, courage, and love. Our hearts know that a world in which these values are extended to all forms of life is possible. And it can help to get specific: do you envision a world where every school has a garden for learning; where 80% of the businesses in your community are cooperatively owned; where those who currently lack a voice have a seat at decision-making tables; where nature has rights; and where all people have a shot at thriving?
Ask, “what is needed?”
Taking steps towards the world your heart envisions requires asking the question, “what is needed?” Thirteen years ago, when I co-founded FeelGood as a student organization at The University of Texas, the more beautiful world my heart knew was possible was a world without chronic hunger; a world where nearly 1 billion members of our human family had the opportunity to powerfully add their voice and contribute their talents. From my 20 year old perspective, what was needed then was 1) a conversation about the root causes (i.e. the severe subjugation of women) and key solutions (i.e. empowering women as leaders of their communities) to chronic persistent hunger, and 2) raising money for organizations effectively addressing these root causes and implementing key solutions.
Answering the question, “what is needed?” requires researching what is being done on the issues you care about. Read books, read articles (long ones), contact people at the organizations working on these issues. Learn, with passion, about the issue you care about, and have fun doing it!
Celebrate, don’t compare:
Comparison thrives in the realm of scarcity—where your accomplishments, the issues you care about, the actions you are taking, are never enough. Comparison creates a winner and a loser, limits perspective, and ultimately contributes to more suffering. Celebration is rooted in the realm of abundance, where your—and others’—accomplishments, talents, and contributions are exquisitely sufficient, or enough. When activism is rooted in this realm of abundance, creativity and the radiance of the human spirit is unleashed in you and in those around you.
Don’t do it alone! Partnering with other organizations – on or off campus – makes your work more enjoyable and more strategic. Here are some organizations you might consider learning about:
- Movement of Youth
- Thought For Food
- Campus Kitchens
- Challah for Hunger
- Nourish International
- Swipe Out Hunger
- Women’s March
- Euphrates Institute
Of course, there are countless organizations with whom your chapter could partner. Do you already partner with other organizations on campus? Share with us in the comments!