Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eco-Campaigns on College Campuses

By Candace Mitchell

Grassroot campaigns are naturally created and made up of communities; whether it be people of a certain gender, residents living in a certain area, a college campus, a religion, etc., who are affected by the same issues, and therefore concerned with the same issues. Campaigns can benefit from the support of a tight knit community, or people who find similarities in the issues they’re concerned with.

A recent example is the “Sodexo Cruelty Campaign,” a nationwide campaign at various colleges and universities with Sodexo-run dining halls. The campaign is calling on schools to terminate their contracts with Sodexo dining services if they continue serving eggs from hens that are confined to cages that are so small that allow for little movement.

The Humane League, a national farmed animal advocacy organization working to end the suffering of animals through public education and corporate campaigns, has created a petition on change.org that calls for Sodexo to stop purchasing eggs from batter-cage farms.

Currently, 128,478 students and supporters have signed the petition, which states: “Please, sign our petition and let Sodexo know that consumers do not want to be supporting this kind of extreme animal cruelty with their dining dollars. It's time for Sodexo to do the right thing and join the 21st century in pledging to end their support of farms that still use outdated battery-cage systems.”

The petition also cites other food service providers – including Starbucks, Burger King, Delaware North Companies and Ben & Jerry’s – that have stopped purchasing eggs from battery-cage farms from their supply chains.

That campaign has an automatic community of college students attending schools that are directly affected by the actions of Sodexo services. The Humane League, the organization that launched the campaign, used this natural community to their advantage. Taylor Ford, campaign coordinator of The Humane League, emailed the newspapers of colleges whose dining halls utilize Sodexo. .

Grassroot campaigns can find success from utilizing natural groups of people with common interests. In this case, the campaign utilized various colleges that use Sodexo Dining Services, college students that are active on social media and college newspapers to help spread the word and get the campaign moving. This campaign also utilized tools of communication that are commonly used by college students including Change.org. The campaign launched a nationwide social media effort that target’s Sodexo’s hashtag #feedingthemovement.

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