Celebrating Maddy’s first year with ONE Campus

Congratulations to Maddy for making it a full trip around the sun with the ONE Campus team! Maddy Vonhoff joined ONE Campus as a Manager for College Organizing after being a Congressional District Leader in Seattle for three years. To celebrate Maddy’s ONE-niversary, she answered some questions about her time with ONE Campus and ONE Campus members.

What has been your favorite campaign to be a part of so far, and why?

I really enjoyed working on ONE Vote ‘16 where we asked both presidential candidates to have a plan to fight against extreme poverty, regardless of who wins the election. To me, this campaign is the epitome of what ONE believes in and fights for. We believe ending extreme poverty and preventable disease is not a party issue — it’s about justice, and we stick to this.

There are no sides in the fight against extreme poverty #onevote16 #hofdebate16

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How did you get involved with ONE in the first place?

I was volunteering as a Congressional District Leader for ONE for three years before I was hired. After I graduated from Western Washington University, I was looking for a way to help the people I had met while studying abroad in Kenya. I found ONE while Googling international organizations and actually tweeted at the ONE Twitter account asking if there was any way for me to volunteer in Seattle.

The Regional Field Director at the time tweeted back at me and asked me to meet him for lunch and invited me to join ONE as a Congressional District Leader! I didn’t really know what that was, but thought I would give this whole political advocacy thing a try and really liked what he was talking about: transparency, infrastructure, justice, etc. Fast forward three years later and I’m working at ONE on the Campus team.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a career out of advocacy or organizing?

It’s never too late to start a career in advocacy. I majored in psychology and French and had no idea I wanted to be involved in political advocacy until I found ONE. If you are interested in starting or switching into a new career, trying a variety of volunteer positions until you find what fits is a great strategy. Then once you do, work hard to not just be a volunteer, but a great volunteer!

What’s one piece of advice you would tell yourself when starting at ONE if you could go back in time?

Persistence is everything. Organizing is long hard work and there will be lots of “no’s” and meet-ups where no one shows up before you start building your team and generating those actions. I would tell myself to be persistent and consistent — it might be hard to see the hard work pay off in the moment, but it will.

What is the most rewarding part of this job?

The most rewarding part of this job is being able to teach students how to be strategic and impactful advocates. I love being able to go into a lawmaker’s office with a group of students, watch them do an amazing job talking about our issues to their Senators or Representative, and have them walk out, completely excited, saying, “That wasn’t so hard! I loved it!”

What is the most important thing to have with you on a ONE Campus trip?

Having podcasts downloaded and ready to go and always have some business cards on you. The podcasts are for the long flights and drives to the states and chapters we work with and the business cards are because you never know when you are going to meet someone who is interested in ONE, sometimes even on the plane!

What are your favorite podcasts right now?

Right now on my playlist are Pod Save America, She’s Running, This American Life, and S-Town.

What are you looking forward to in year two with ONE and ONE Campus?

I’m looking forward to building up the new chapters we have in the western part of the country. During my first year, sometimes it seemed fairly overwhelming thinking of all the states I still had to go to, but with a year of recruiting under my belt and new Campus Leaders, I’m looking forward to working with our new chapters and developing more resources, more internal structure, and more of a ONE presence on my side of the USA.

The ONE Campus team and your Campus Chapters know of your love of all things geek, so if there were an executive board made up of your favorite superheroes, who would they be?

I’ve been dreaming of this question! I would have two Campus Leaders. I would definitely have Black Panther and Supergirl as my co-Campus Leaders, Spider-Man to do recruitment, Wonder Woman to run our Poverty is Sexist campaign, and Captain America to meet with our lawmakers on our issues.

Leave Maddy a congratulatory note in the comments below or better yet, sign the latest ONE Campus petition here.

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