Youth Conference Report 2005
Northeast Anti-Sweatshop Conference for High School Students
Over 40 youth participated in our first conference on sweatfree campaigning in high schools, cosponsored by United Students Against Sweatshops and New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. Most of the youth who attended the event at Smith College in Northampton MA, Sept 30 - Oct 2, 2005, were high school students. In addition, a few middle school and college students participated. Here are some voices from the conference:
"The environment was great, everyone was really friendly and chill."
"I learned how to start a campaign, how to write a press release, how to maintain an active organization, how to build a coalition, and how to communicate with the school to make sure policies follow through and stay in effect.”
"I learned how to organize, rally, and coordinate students to do something productive. How to effectively run and execute plans. All the “how-to’s” involved with making your school a sweat-free environment."
"One of my highlights was the open mic."
"I’m taking back new skills and ideas that I plan to use to set up my own club."
"I really liked this conference and learned a lot and think you should have it annually!"
Sweatshops and the global economy: first hand accounts and how it ties into our schools
Sweatfree schools campaign
Building power and strategic planning
Building coalitions and grassroots power
Building a student group that stays active year-to-year
Facilitation training: how to run effective meetings
Working with the media
Raising money for your group
Organizing in a restricted environment
Living wage campaign
Help Increase the Peace Project exercises
Making a campaign action plan for your school
Facilitators and presenters included representatives from the American Friends Service Committee, Amherst High School, Brattleboro Union High School, Georgetown Living Wage Campaign, The Beacon School, New York State Labor-Religion Coalition, Smith College, United Students Against Sweatshops, The State University of New York at Buffalo, and the Worker Rights Consortium.
The youth who attended came from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, representing a range of geographic diversity, from rural areas to small towns to suburbs to inner cities.
Are you interested in high school organizing in your area? Are you interested to organize a regional youth conference or to be part of our next youth event? If so, get in touch with us.