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#OurTomorrow campaign showcases service on college campuses
Posted Feb 16, 2017
by Saskia Van Riessen
What do you see for #OurTomorrow?
A new national conversation is asking students just that question.
An increased energy toward civic engagement hit college campuses last year during election season, and this fever remained strong among students after Election Day. Driven by students wanting to know how to get more involved, members from 10 universities from around the country started talking about how to channel this feeling into action. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day of this year, the Morgridge Center for Public Service joined campus partners at the nine other universities to launch the #OurTomorrow movement.
Using social media, the project invites students, staff, faculty and community partners to share how they are making a difference for the future through service today. The nonpartisan effort aims to inclusively inspire others to get involved in their own communities.
“The #OurTomorrow project showcases not only the work being done at specific schools but also students at other campus that are making their communities happier and healthier places to live,” says Megan Miller, Assistant Director of Civic Engagement at the Morgridge Center for Public Service on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
Participating schools include: Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Stanford University, Tufts University, Tulane University, University of California Berkeley and UW-Madison.
“Now more than ever, engagement – in our communities, as citizens, and with issues and topics we care about – matters. When we engage, we connect with and learn from each other,” says Gwen McNamara, Communications Coordinator at the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University.
How can you get involved? Start by asking yourself: “What does public service or civic engagement mean to me?”
Then share how you’re taking action using “#OurTomorrow” on social media. Action happens in a variety of ways including volunteering, community organizing and activism, policy and governance, philanthropy and more. Posts using the hashtag are displayed on the project website.
In just one month, the project has already inspired hundreds of posts from across the country.
A student at Princeton University shared how learning about the inequalities that exist in the United States criminal justice system through tutoring prisoners is helping her work for a better tomorrow. Another student at Stanford posted her commitment to eliminating the achievement gap by joining an after school tutoring program for middle school students from low-income backgrounds.
In this way, #OurTomorrow is not just a social media campaign, but instead, a national conversation on why service and civic engagement matter. UW-Madison is proud to be one the 10 institutions leading the effort to show the unifying power of these two concepts.
“My hope is that not just students, but also campus partners, community members and youth, latch onto this campaign and share what they’re up to. It’s an incredible way to inspire others to get involved and post about the work they’re doing,” says Miller.
UW-Madison student Carol Silva shared how being a part of the Badger Volunteers program, in which students volunteer weekly at a community organization in Madison, allows her to actively engage with issues facing the city she calls home.
“I believe that sharing my experiences not only amplifies the importance of service and civic engagement, but will hopefully motivate others to get involved as well,” says Silva.
And while this innovative project uses social media to start the conversation, the true aim for #OurTomorrow is to inspire action in real life.