University’s Annual Advocacy Week


Brian Luppy/ Villanovan Photography

Students tabling for advocacy week in Connelly Center.

Emily Attisano, Staff Writer

Throughout the week of March 20th, the Center for Peace and Justice Education hosted

Villanova University’s Advocacy week. Advocacy week is a tremendous way of enabling

students to raise awareness on issues they are passionate about and inspire other students to become involved in this activism. This annual event encourages campus organizations, classes, teams and groups to pursue social advocacy by raising awareness of issues that matter to them.


Through an array of lectures and student tables set up in the Connelly Center, many different

social justice issues were represented during the 2023 Advocacy Week.


Advocacy Week began in 2010, and since its inception it has promoted tremendous change,

truly encapsulating Villanova’s dedication to igniting change. This year’s event empowered

Villanovans to become activists and advocates of social, economic, and political change. The

Center for Peace and Justice uplifted student groups in sponsor petitions, letter-writing

campaigns, or other acts of advocacy.


In the weeks leading up to Advocacy Week, Villanova led information and training

sessions to help students learn about ways of promoting awareness for their cause.

During Advocacy Week, participating campus organizations, groups, and teams presented

at tables in the Connelly Center from March 21st to March 23rd. These tables all had powerful messages and raised awareness for crucial causes, from the environment to gender rights. By conveying these messages, other students were inspired to become activists, be it through signing petitions, making art work or writing emails and letters. Each table that volunteered represented a tremendous diversity of social, political and environmental issues. Fossil Free Villanova was one student group advocating for environmental justice during Advocacy Week. This organization calls for the divestment of Villanova’s endowment fund from fossil fuel companies.


It asked students to write down reasons why they love the environment, and these notes will soon be compiled into an art display. Oak Tree Films, a student production company for the social justice documentary course, advocated for values of empowerment for all at their table.


It encouraged students to see their two short films–”Nina” and “Her Time Is Now”– on May 4th. These films raise awareness for issues such as gender justice, female empowerment and disability and accessibility.


Advocacy Week commenced with the Oscar Romero Solidarity Lecture on March 20th.

This annual lecture was inspired by archbishop Oscar Romero, following his precedent of

advocating for the voiceless. Featuring a speaker dedicated to justice and solidarity with

marginalized communities, this lecture kicked off Advocacy Week by aligning Villanova’s

community with Oscar Romero’s tremendous mission.


Many additional events were organized throughout Advocacy Week, including the

Disability Advocacy Faculty Panel sponsored by Best Buddies, LEVEL and Villanova Special

Olympics Committees on March 21st. To advocate for anti-poverty and environmental

sustainability work, Stephanie Sena, an Anti-Poverty Fellow, and Michael Gagne, Global

Director of Organizing, presented a lecture on Advocacy and the Ecology of Change on March 22nd. On March 24th, Fossil Free Villanova sponsored a student action event at the Oreo advocating divestment from fossil fuel industries.