Alumni August: Meet Morgan!
For the second year in a row ONE Campus is bringing back “Alumni August.” The first post of 2017 features University of Alabama Campus Leader Morgan Moran. Follow Morgan on Twitter @morganhmoran. Morgan stopped by the ONE office in Washington to share her experiences with ONE and how her new career isn’t too far from her work as a ONE Campus Leader. This interview has been condensed for clarity.
- Where did you go to school, where are you now, and what are you up to?
I went to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide!) and I graduated in 2015. I work at Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), which is the political advocacy arms of Save the Children. We see ourselves as the political voice for kids.
We work on two main issues: The first is maternal, newborn and child survival, which has a bit of the global health issues I was familiar with at ONE and in college. The second, which is a newer topic to me, is early childhood education here int he US. It was through this issue that I’ve been involved with local and statewide campaigning.
- Can you tell us a little more about your current role?
At SCAN, I manage our student engagement program, which encompasses the Student Ambassador Program. Our Student Ambassador Program is really similar to ONE Campus. We have Student Ambassadors in Iowa, Illinois, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington and we’re in the process of launching a program in Colorado.
A typical day for me includes strategic planning meetings with different teams at SCAN. And like the ONE Campus Managers, I create toolkits and different online and offline resources for our students to access. Finally, I spend a lot of my time communicating with the nearly 60 Student Ambassadors for SCAN to support their efforts at school and in their communities.
- What drew you to campaign with ONE?
Ever since I was little I wanted a career that helps people, so when I started school, I thought it was to go into a career in pharmaceuticals. However, I realized I wanted to be able to interact with people, too. It took me a little bit of time to get involved with any activities I was passionate about, so when I was introduced to ONE, I was drawn to it because it had specifics about what the top issues are and the solutions to overcome them. And it allowed me to help people through using my voice.
- What was your favorite memory from your time volunteering as a ONE member?
I have two: The first is when we hosted our signature event, “Band Party.” It was a concert featuring on-campus talent and our cost of admission asked attendees to write a letter to their member of Congress seeking their support for the Electrify Africa Act.
The second is when the Electrify Africa Act passed and was signed into law. It was so cool to see all that work on campus and nationally pay off.
- What advice do you have for someone who is just getting involved with ONE?
My first piece of advice is to learn how to take “no” in stride. You could be organizing anything and someone will find a way to say no. Take it in, move on, and find the next person who will say “yes.”
My second piece of advice is appreciation. If someone took an action, follow up. When a member of Congress goes your way on an ask, take the time to thank them. Of course, having them say yes to your request is great, but a thank you goes a really long way to building a relationship with the member and their staff. Also, don’t forget to thank your volunteers!
- What skills are you using now in your current role that you learned from being a ONE volunteer?
This is a tough question: A real wonky one is learning the whole Congressional budgetary process, like Appropriations. I was a Government Relations intern at ONE, so I like that stuff!
Another is learning the power of planning ahead. As a volunteer, I appreciated when ONE Campus provided toolkits with a lot of time to plan activities around. I was always more effective and successful when I had the time. I try to do the same when I’m designing toolkits for my Student Ambassadors.
- If you could have dinner with any activist, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet [President] Jimmy Carter. Post-presidency he’s done so much humanitarian work and he’s brought great attention to NTDs (neglected tropical diseases) like Guinea Worm. Plus, my parents are from Georgia, so I’ve got to have some hometown pride.
- Any final thoughts for future Campus Leaders?
I definitely wish I focused more on sustainability. It’s easy to do everything yourself, but in the long run it makes organizing harder. Find and empower leaders so that delegating responsibility isn’t hard. I push that on my Student Ambassadors.
Also, check your dang emails, please!