CPR: How to Do Outreach To Colleges And High Schools
Our goals are:
- To get their student government to use PR and IRV for their elections,
- To make speaking engagements with student groups, and
- To make speaking engagements with political science, government, and civics classes.
Here are some suggestions on how to approach this work:
- Call the school. Ask for the phone numbers for whoever coordinates student elections, for whoever coordinates student groups, and the person that coordinates the poli. sci., government, and civics classes.
- Call these people up. Tell them that you are a volunteer from Alameda County Citizens for Proportional Representation, and that we'd like to come tell them about PR.
- If they ask what PR is, tell them, "Our current electoral system, which is called "Winner Take-All Elections", doesn't do a very good job of representing minorities, encourages negative campaigns, and encourages big spending. Proportional Representation is a way of doing elections in which you still have majority rule, but the difference is you get fair minority representation, campaigns that are more issue oriented, and the influence of big money is much less. Proportional Representation is proven: it used in the vast majority of stable democracies around the world."
- If they ask more detailed questions, and you don't know how to answer the question, say, "You know, I'm not an expert on Proportional Representation. I know enough about it to support it, but I'm not very good at explaining it. How about if we have one of our speakers come in and make a presentation to your group?" (or class, or council, or whatever)
- When they agree to have someone come in, see if you can set up the date and time on the spot. Try to get us at least a couple of weeks warning!
- At some point, it is a great idea to actually visit the campus. You can make better contacts that way, understand the school better, etc.
- Patience and perserverance are important. Often it will take several calls to make contacts. And then it may very well take several conversations with your contacts to make the speaking engagement.
- We can send out packets on request. E.g., if they say, "Well, Idon't know about a speaking engagement, can you send me some information?" You reply, "Sure! Let me get your name and address, and we'll get a packet out to you."
- Be very flexible and very friendly. Within reason, we'll do whatever is necessary to make progress with them.