Advocacy Week, March 19-21, included different classes, organizations, groups, sororities, fraternities, teams, clubs and individual petitions working to promote change. Each organization had a table outside of Connelly Center to raise awareness on its issue.
The goal of Advocacy Week, sponsored by the Campus Ministry Service Council, is to find an issue and come up with ideas in how to promote change.
“All of the organizations provide a chance for students to find an issue that relates to their mission and act on it,” said Jenna Cucco, co-facilitator for Advocacy Week.
Groups and organizations such as University Students Against Sweatshops, Ethical Issues on Peace and Justice, The American Sign Language Club, Special Olympics Committee, LIFT and Catholic Relief Services participated by getting information about each group and participating with them on their missions.
“The Special Olympics Committee wants to raise awareness in ending the use of the ‘R’ word,” Paul Insley said.
Advocacy Week allowed Villanovans to see the implications of current issues in the world. By raising awareness, students can embody the University’s logo to ignite change.
“We want to encourage people to ‘Spread the Word To End the Word’ and I think this week is a great opportunity for students on campus to see that because a lot of times we don’t know the impact our words have on people,” Insley said.
Getting involved in organizations on campus is easy. Students simply need to find an issue they want to support and take action.
“Growing up in Washington D.C. exposed me to the issue of poverty and how it is especially affecting the youth and their chances of graduating and having a good life,” Bridget Black said. “I am currently taking a Peace and Justice class and we had to focus on an ethical issue we are aware of so that is why I decided to focus on the effects of homelessness on the youth.”
Advocacy Week gave students a chance to learn about topics they are unfamiliar with.
Getting involved allows students to see the world in a broader perspective and push them to make a difference.
“Villanova has the kind of environment suited to promote change and I think that this week will give those students who are not aware of these critical issues in the world to become involved and learn how important their voices are in the world today,” Cucco said.
Various groups allowed students to get involved by signing letters and petitions. Catholic Relief Services focused on expanding international assistance on poverty.
The organization provided a letter through which students could write their personal comments on why raising awareness on poverty is important.
“During this week, several organizations participated by presenting an issue that pertains to their cause and advocating on behalf of their issue,” Caitlin Gemma said. “One example includes when the American Sign Language Club encouraged the Villanova community to call local representatives and argue in favor of keeping open the only nursing home for the deaf in Pennsylvania, which is actually in danger of closing.”
In addition to the events during the day, there were evening events as well. Mark Doorley, ethics professor at Villanova, and Jim Desimone, member of a citizens committee trying to save Camden’s Children’s Garden, gave speeches on the possible chances of closing the garden. Opportunities for letter and petition signings were available in this event as well.
“Anyone can become involved because we all have the ability to make a difference,” Insley said.
“This week is really about creating advocates of all people and giving students the opportunity to be involved in service programs,” Cucco said.