Basic Pledge Structure
Our SHU… [insert group vision here—present tense]
We will… [action step #1]
[action step #2]
[action step #3]
You do not need exactly 3 steps. Aim for a range of concrete things your group will take to support your vision. Take a look at the pledges on Facebook for ideas. If you have a white board handy, it can be helpful to write out the basic structure above so everyone has it mind.
How to Generate a Pledge
- Pitch the idea to your group. Share the facebook page or other material.
- Facilitate a short group brainstorming session.
- Draft a pledge.
- Bring it back to the group for approval.
- Make a poster or some kind of visual statement with your “Our SHU” statement and take the group photo.
- Ask someone to take notes.
- An ambitious vision is great, but specificity is critical. Make it real.
- Be specific. Neither the vision nor the steps need to be all encompassing—just what your group can do to help.
- Show your group’s personality. If you’re artsy, be artsy. If you’re witty, be witty.
- This is a fun, valuable conversation. It’s a great opportunity for your group to share ideas, observations, and vision.
Facilitating the Discussion
Start with a really short description of the project, read out 2-3 examples of pledges, and then open up the brainstorming.
Big Questions: Feel free to jump around—it’s unlikely to be a linear conversation.
Who are we and what do we do?
We know you know this already but it will help to restate it with the task of writing a pledge in mind.
What’s our connection to campus climate and culture?
This may not be obvious at first but take some time to unpack it: how do you shape social/political/intellectual life on campus? What is your group culture like? What are your group’s values? How do they play out in practice? What’s the environment like at your meetings/practices/events? What are your interactions with other parts of campus?
Ideally, what would our corner of campus life look like?
If you got to call the shots, what would your SHU be like? Keep this question in mind but it is often the last one to figure out. If you get stuck trying to figure it out, move ahead. Talking about specific action steps will help shape this vision.
What are we going to do to get to our ideal SHU?
What are things you already do? What can you do better? Any new ideas?Collect a lot of possibilities! Not everything has to end up in the pledge. Aim for specific, actionable items—things that are concrete and within your power. Naming what you don’t want is easy—steer away from that. This exercise is about figuring what you can and will do to create a better campus.
If you still need to draft the pledge, get a couple of volunteers to help and plan to present to the group soon. Send the photo and the text of your pledge to email@example.com. We'll let you know when we post it on Facebook so that everyone in your group can share it and like it. The pledge posts with the most shares & likes will be printed as posters and hung around campus.
Adapted with permission from Yale University