By Ben Macintosh
Sweta Daboo, Vice-President Academic & External, told the Cadre she wanted to offer advocacy training because of her own experiences (photo credits: Ben Macintosh).
A recent workshop at UPEI gave students a unique chance to practice advocacy
The advocacy training workshop hosted by Vice President Academic & External Sweta Daboo on Feb. 4 taught 10 students what advocacy is and how it can be used.
When Daboo originally became VPAX she said she was inexperienced with advocacy.
Daboo told the Cadre the idea for the workshop came from her desire to teach others what she has learned.
“It came honestly from a lack of knowledge on my part when I came into this role,” she said.
“I knew coming into this that advocacy was a big part of the position but I also knew that I knew very little about the actual process.”
Daboo said that there are many issues students are passionate about, like gender equality and climate change.
“While they feel very strongly about these issues they don’t know exactly how to tackle them in order to bring about the change that they want to see,” she said.
The workshop showed students how advocacy could be applied to those issues.
“It’s just to instruct people on how to channel that passion into producing real results.”
The first half of the workshop focused on teaching the students about advocacy.
The second half of the workshop allowed students to apply what they learned in different scenarios.
“They had three scenarios, in each case they had five minutes to read a one-pager on a certain scenario that they would be advocating on and then they had 10 minutes in an actual mock meeting to practice those skills,” she said.
The three scenarios the students advocated for were an extension on a school project, food options on campus and a bike share program.
The situations gave students a chance to apply what they learned, and Daboo said the students enjoyed it.
“Being put into those scenarios that were sometimes easier to deal with other times very frustrating got them thinking on their feet.”
Advocacy is something that can help in everyday life, said Daboo.
“It’s a very transferable skill that you can apply to almost anything. We looked at advocating for a cause but in everyday life we’re advocating for ourselves.”
While Daboo does not plan to host another workshop this semester, she hopes advocacy workshops will be hosted annually at UPEI going forward.