Section: News

New club aims to support campus activism

Erin Donnelly ’20 wants to create some momentum. To do this, she started a new organization that aims to create a network between students interested in activism that would allow them to help each other take concrete steps to reach their goals

Donnelly described ‘Momentum Kenyon’ as a half-support, half-accountability check-in group for students hoping to enact change in some way.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m doing after Kenyon and how I want to make my mark in the world,” she said. “I just wanted to start it because I know I want to see change in the world … and, in order to see that change, I really feel like there needed to be a place full of support. I can’t really do it on my own and I don’t know if other people feel like they can do it on their own either.”

With this club, Donnelly hopes to encourage students to take online activism to the next level by outlining more tangible, concrete steps in group brainstorm sessions. The club welcomes both those who would like to plan steps for others and those who have an issue they are passionate about and want to take action about it.

“Momentum is about supporting each individual person through a multi-pronged plan,” she wrote in an email to the student body introducing the club. “We’ll help each other figure out how to break our reach goals into smaller chunks until we have a sequence of attainable objectives. Every week at the meeting we can discuss what progress we made in those action plans, or what setbacks we experienced.”

The club’s weekly meetings will consist of brainstorming sessions and an inspiration circle led by one member, where they will discuss why they care about their cause, who inspired them and how others can use that as motivation. Donnelly also emphasized that the meetings will be an exclusively supportive space.

“Something else that I think is really important about momentum, is that you’re allowed to have setbacks and you’re allowed to take the week off and no one’s gonna yell at you if you don’t make progress or if you even take two steps backwards,” she said. “We really want to be able to enact change — and that doesn’t mean immediately, that just means sustainably.”

On Tuesday, there was an interest meeting for the club where Donnelly led a demonstration of a brainstorm session. In a hypothetical scenario, students in attendance identified concrete steps for someone interested in child advocacy. For one of the first steps, the group suggested volunteering at Wiggins Street Elementary School, which would allow the person to interact with children and better understand their experience. “I’m really hoping that people just come and realize that they can make change, and that they are completely capable and that it’s really a matter of finding the right resources and getting the support you need behind you,” Donnelly said. “I think that’s something people are afraid of, is that if they do anything more than tweet about it, they’re going to be told that it’s not their problem to fix and I think that that’s one of the things we can address here too — being careful where we step, knowing who we are and what that means for where we’re going and how we can work on any issue, really, in a respectful manner.”

For students interested in Momentum Kenyon, more information will be available at the beginning of the fall semester when the club becomes a registered organization.

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