Groups push for legislation through Advocacy Week

Lizzy Heurich

Advocacy Week, March 16-18 at the Oreo, brought together organizations from across campus to raise awareness for their respective causes through political action.  

Each organization was encouraged to find a piece of legislation that coordinated with its mission. Most organizations had petitions or letter-signing campaigns to encourage local congressmen to take a stand against the legislation or to improve it. 

Groups did not just utilize the time to raise awareness among politicians, but also among the student body. Some groups found that the best way to achieve this was through games played at the Oreo. Other organizations also had fundraisers to help their cause.

Advocacy Week is sponsored by the Villanova Service Council, a group consisting of Community Outreach of Villanova student leaders and other students who are passionate about service. 

The Service Council’s Outreach Committee creates projects to improve the service sites where COV sends student volunteers. Although Advocacy Week was publicized via Facebook, the Outreach Committee was somewhat nervous about how the week would turn out.

“If no one showed up [to the interest meeting], we were mentally prepared,” said sophomore Lauren Adderly, chair of the Outreach Committee. “But people started to trickle in.”

Those nerves were unnecessary. By the end of Advocacy Week, 15 campus organizations were participating. Some organizations asked to partake in Advocacy Week after seeing the results of the first day.

Organizations involved and their respective causes included the Service Learning Community for early education; Relay for Life for cancer research; Invisible Children for saving children soldiers; Special Olympics and Best Buddies for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act; Wildcat Dancers for music education; Bread for the World for ending hunger; Villanovans for Life for human dignity in healthcare; Epilogue: Villanova Order of the Phoenix for literacy; Villanova Environmental Group for clean air; Water for Waslala for Water for the World Act; the Center for Peace and Justice for workers’ rights; and Catholic Relief Services Ambassadors for immigration reform and peace building. Break trips who participated in Advocacy Week wanted to raise awareness for particular problems that they saw while at their respective service sites over spring break. 

Students on the Marion, S.C. Habitat for Humanity trip advocated affordable housing; those on the Pittsboro, N.C. trip supported the lowering of education costs; and participants in the McAllen, Texas Mission Trip advocated the removal of the border wall.

Adderly said the Service Council was very pleased with the turnout throughout the week, especially since this is the University’s first Advocacy Week. The Outreach Committee plans on making Advocacy Week a staple event, occurring at least once a school year, if not once a semester. 

“Senators should expect an influx of letters from Villanova students,” Adderly said.