A call to walk on after taking the first step
A question: If advocacy is less effective on a small scale, is it worth the effort?
Advocacy has been a focus on Avondale College of Higher Education’s Lake Macquarie campus this semester thanks to students in the unit Justice and Advocacy. Dr Brad Watson, a Senior Lecturer in International Poverty and Development Studies, delivers the unit.
The Macquarie Dictionary defines advocacy as “an act of pleading for, supporting or recommending. This “active espousal” is the first step in bringing about change. But how big is that step when taken during a relatively small-scale event such as Green Week, which Brad’s students organised as the practical component of their unit. The answer is relative—it depends on how we measure the size that step and who’s taking the step.
Here are two words that could serve as a yardstick: learning and equipping. Students in the unit know more about environmental sustainability—one of their foci—than they did at the beginning of the semester. And they can now do more with the skills they’ve acquired. Even students who did not enrol in the unit or participate in Green Week can benefit from the advocacy of their peers.
Focusing on the advocates rather than on their advocacy may seem trivial considering the importance of the issue, but change often starts as a small seed planted in many different hearts. The first step has been taken. The challenge now: to walk on.