How UT Amnesty Functions

I believe Amnesty International functions differently than most organizations at UT. The meetings can be broken into three parts – ice-breakers, listing upcoming events, and educating members on a single issue.Every single meeting begins with a sort of ice-breaker activity, such as the human knot or two-truths-and-one-lie. Most organizations will do ice-breaker activities at only the first meeting. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is very effective. Ice-breaker activities always feel very forced and shallow, not to mention the room is set up with long tables and narrow walkways (kind of like CMB 2.104 but with even less room to stand) making it physically uncomfortable to do these exercises. However, I can see that they have good intentions in doing so. After the awkward re-introductions, they provide a list of volunteer opportunities/social change events happening soon. They also throw in some outside bonding events to further promote a social aspect of the group. Members who are only interested in this part can skip the weekly meetings and sign up to receive the newsletters via email which provide the same information. However, the last portion is perhaps the most unique. They focus on educating members about social change categories. One week, a speaker from the Gender and Sexuality Center to speak about his job and why it is important. Another week they talked about the ICE raids in Austin, how to help fight against them, and educated us about bills being passed in the Senate supporting the raids. I think the format of Amnesty’s meetings in integral to what they are trying to accomplish. The versatility of the larger Amnesty International organization allows more than enough causes to find support, and the club here does a great job of providing opportunities to exercise our voices and going more depth in issues. This club, like this class, does a great job of integrating a learning opportunity with practical application, and that’s why this organization is so important.

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