In our aim to spread the word, we will be posting the different ideas that we use in our own local campaign at Georgetown University
Under the "Spread the word Yourself" label, we will be posting descriptions, sample leaflets, and our logo that can be applied to t-shirts, buttons, pins, patches, etc. so that you can adopt this campaign wherever you may be.
Please feel free to take these ideas and apply them to an awareness campaign that will create a growing link of knowledge about the soybean wars.
If you have new ideas, also please send them to us at soybeanwars@gmail. com and we'll gladly post them on our blog.
~ Spread the Word Team
Drink Of The Month - at your local coffee shop
One of the many ways we hope to spread awareness here at Georgetown is by joining our student-run coffee shop's "drink of the month program." Through this program, a selected charity receives a portion of the proceeds from a specific drink which raises awareness and funds about a specific issue. We thought that this would be particularly appropriate given that we are dealing with soybeans and there are so many drinks that can be created with soy. As always, it is important to remember that the problems with soybeans in Paraguay are not directly linked to American consumption, so consuming soy in the US does not exacerbate the problem. Nonetheless, educating individuals who do drink soy beverages about the soybean wars can be extremely beneficial since they may be some of the individuals who will be motivated to take action. We encourage you to either apply for something like the drink of the month program on your campus, or if that does not exist, to approach local coffee shops about creating a similar program. General information about the program can be found at: http://www.thecorp.org/ug/. An online copy of the application form that the Uncommon Grounds uses is also available at: http://www.thecorp.org/pdf/ug_dom.pdf. Good luck!
Here are several possible variations on our basic flier. The Soybean wars are political, environmental, social, and environmental issues. It is important to try to include people who are interested in all of these causes. Please feel free to use these images around your campus to spread the word and get people involved!
Educate yourself through the Wikipedia Entry "Soybean Wars of Paraguay"
This entry provides access to basic information about the Soybean Wars. We also hope to have a Spanish version of the page up soon.
View and promote our YouTube Video:
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB1mMwZSb20 and http://www.youtube.com/user/thesoybeanwars)
A new way for unknown issues to be spread is through YouTube.com. Using footage from the Pulitzer Center's panel discussion along with pictures and voice narration provided to us by Charles Lane, we outlined the major issues and created two videos to help spread the word. Since there are currently so few individuals who know about the issue in the US, making the resources available so that individuals can educate themselves is crucial. Please help us to spread the word by letting others know about this clips!
Facebook "is a social utility that connects you with the people around you" (facebook.com). Anyone can join Facebook, and the majority of college students have accounts that are checked almost daily. Members of Facebook join groups and accept invitations from friends to join groups depending on their interests, political views, etc. Our group is an open group, meaning that anyone can join the group and that all members have the ability to invite others to join. We chose this feature to encourage a broader network rather than limiting it to people we knew personally. Our Facebook group allows information regarding the soybean wars to be shared with other members of the Facebook community. It also allows us to contact those that are interested and inform them of upcoming awareness events or changes in the Paraguayan situation. This group is vital to our campaign due to the fact that so many people are connected to it on a daily basis and information can be shared instantaneously. Please add your self to this group and invite your friends to join as well. We have also used the group for:
Profile Picture Day: Each Facebook member has a profile picture that can be viewed by anyone linked to the website. On Monday, October 29, 2007, all members in the group "Soybean Wars of Paraguay--Spread the Word," were asked to change their picture to the Soybean Wars logo. With the help of our one hundred and seventy-five members, we hoped that other Facebook members would thus see the logo and ask about it. For every person who asked a question, awareness about the issue grew. Not to mention, more members could be acquired as they noticed their friend’s profile pictures and became interested in the issue. We are happy to report that this strategy met with great success. About twenty people changed their pictures, and we can only imagine the countless hundreds that viewed the logo as a result. In fact, this strategy led at least five more people to request inclusion in the group.
Contacting students/alumni through Facebook who have listed Paraguay in their profile: In our own campaign this strategy has put us in contact with Mike Morgan and Dawn Crosby. Mike is a Georgetown Alumni who along with Dawn served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. We are currently working with them in developing strategies to address the issue through the resources we have available. Some of these ideas include the creation of a private-public discourse between the corporations like Cargill and local farmer organizations like MAP (Movimiento Agricultural Popular).
At Georgetown, this would include representatives from the Latin American Student Association, EcoAction (Georgetown's environmental group), Peace Action (Georgetown students promoting peace and justice), and individual students working towards a certificates in development studies, in Justice and Peace Studies, in business, and in law. The aim of this working group would be to employ an interdisciplinary approach to the issue and contemplate the various ways in which the case of Paraguay serves as a case study for the effects of the various global processes taking place ( i.e. globalization, increasing demand of soy.. etc.) See if there are any similar groups that you could involve on your campus.
At Georgetown we will be setting up a table display in our free speech zone called Red Square where we will provide background to the situation, photos, and leaflets with information about our campaign. You could find a similar location on your campus!
By contacting local media and informing them about our participation in this campaign you can reach out to campus news readers. An article in the newspaper will highlight student’s activism towards this underreported issue.
Use the fact that that most people, especially college students, share a desire for both knowledge and food to your advantage by implementing a dinner series on campuses. These dinners would be small weekly gatherings, and each dinner would feature a key note speaker regarding the current situation of Paraguayan farmers and the soybean wars. Naturally, the dinners would serve traditional Paraguayan cuisine.
This could potentially be a very effective strategy since much of the soy that is grown in Paraguay is actually being used as animal feed in China. In many ways, students in China who eat soy-fed meat have a direct link to the issue and so alerting them to the issue could have a large impact. An alternative to this strategy would be alerting exchange students from China who were studying in the US of the issue while they were here and encouraging them to use the tools we have made available to spread the word when they returned to China.
We are currently working on releasing and updating information on the current situation in Paraguay and ways that you can spread the word.
Meanwhile, please visit the Pulitzer Center to learn more about the soybean wars:
Spread the Word Team