As a Graphic Design and Marketing student, I am pounded with the concept of delivering tangible results and analyzing the effects of your work. A successful marketing campaign is not one that necessarily looks beautiful, but rather one that strengthens a brand and yields positive results. When I am tasked with presenting campaign results to a client, I have to remove my creative side, and morph into an analyst. Did the brand expand it’s reach? Did we enter new markets? Did sales show improvement? Some creative professionals avoid dabbling in the world of numbers, but I feel that it is a crucial part of the design process because I can refine my work to have the maximum impact for my clients.
How does the life a graphic designer have anything to do with Israel advocacy? It doesn’t. But the concept of delivering tangible results does. The lives of college students are hectic. Balancing lectures, homework, group projects, eating, extracurriculars and your social life, all while remembering to sleep is a hefty task. When students make the conscience decision to engage in pro-Israel activism on campus, they are committing to a lifestyle, not a club. Being an Israel advocate, is not something that gets placed on your planner, but a cause that becomes embodied in everything you do.
There are a myriad of organizations that are committed to educating and training pro-Israel activists on college campuses. They are well funded, staffed by qualified professionals, and are, for the most part, sophisticated operations. Pro-Israel students have so many resources at their fingertips. From interactive websites and publications to conferences and lectures, there is something for everyone. This is great, but the question that students need to start asking is: What tangible assets will their actions deliver to the pro-Israel community? Does waving flags on the street corner and handing out blue and white cookies make a dent in shifting the global perspective on our homeland? I am sure that this popular form of activism create a sense of camaraderie and unity within the current pro-Israel community, but it does not engage potential campus allies.
If campus activists want to make a true impact on behalf of the pro-Israel community, they should shift their focus from organizing speakers and bake sales and focus on retail engagement. Retail engagement is the process of building relationships with influential leaders on your campus. Just like in the marketing world, activists identify and engage key leaders who fit profiles that have statistically led to holding powerful positions in their community, state, industry, or any other influential area. When you properly identify people who are on a trajectory towards success, the pro-Israel community will reap the rewards of your relationship past your graduation. Imagine if a campus activist developed a relationship with their student government president in college. You both graduate and stay in touch. Twenty years later, he decides to run for Congress and is tasked with writing a position paper on foreign policy. You send him a message and offer to help him out. After winning the election, you continue your relationship and he instantly becomes a champion for the pro-Israel community. This is just one potential scenario where your relationship with an influential person would yield positive results.
Engaging future leaders and politicians during their formative years of college is the most effective initiative that any Pro-Israel student can take. It doesn’t require forming a formal student organization or any funding, all you need to do is reach out of your comfort zone.