Campaign spotlight: Persistence pays off at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
At the start of the new year, ONE launched its annual Poverty is Sexist letter where more than 130 of the world’s most influential individuals called on world leaders to put gender inequality and girls’ education front and center of the development agenda. ONE Campus chapters were tasked during the first campaign of 2017 to get their university presidents or chancellors to join the call to action and declare that Poverty is Sexist.
ONE members at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse were ecstatic about this campaign action, but their University chancellor initially declined the invitation to sign the letter. But the ONE members at UW-Lax were not going to let the fight to educate 130 million girls out of school be stopped by their chancellor’s reluctance. Hoping to change their chancellor’s mind, the members of ONE at UWL began raising support from other movers and shakers on their campus.
On February 10, Campus Leader Katelyn had this advice for her fellow ONE Campus Leaders: “Start collecting faculty, deans, and department chair signatures. The more support an administration feels they have in making a decision the more likely they are to support your cause. Once we collect as many signatures as we can, by mid-next week, we are going to approach our Chancellor again and ask for his support after presenting him with the other signatures.”
They didn’t stop there. On February 22, ONE at UW-L reported back that the 34 members of the UWL Student Senate voted unanimously to support ONE’s Poverty is Sexist campaign.
With the written support of over 35 members UWL faculty, staff, and administrators—plus the support of the Student Senate—ONE at UWL had the momentum they needed, and International Women’s Day was fast approaching.
On March 8—International Women’s Day!—Katelyn made this announcement via Facebook: “I am incredibly proud to announce that Chancellor Joe Gow has signed on to ONE’s open letter to world leaders and agreed that Poverty is Sexist. Today, in solidarity with women everywhere ONE at UW-La Crosse will drop off nearly 2,500 signatures and some amazing handwritten letters to Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office to ask her to stand in solidarity with the 130 million girls who won’t go to school today. International Women’s Day is a day of raising our voices, celebrating women of all nationalities, religions, and ethnic origins. It is a day to recognize the inequalities throughout the world and to take action in addressing them. You are important. You make a difference so make change.”
THEY DID IT! After nearly two months of grassroots organizing, the ONE members were rewarded with perhaps one of their biggest accomplishments to date.