The Sourced Campaign: We Won!

Submitted by SCM on Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:37

Simone Ramacci, President of the Progressive Christians society at the University of Essex, shares with us their success in the Sourced campaign.

You might be familiar with the ‘Sourced’ campaign our movement is currently supporting. If you are not, the gist of it is this: the Christian Aid Collective is asking students to take part in the campaign, asking their universities to check if they’re doing business with notorious tax evaders or tax dodgers. Why is this important? Christian Aid has estimated that developing countries are losing US$160bn a year because of some unscrupulous multinational companies dodging their taxes – much more than gets given in aid worldwide. That’s money that could be spent on essential services to help lift people out of poverty, people who need sanitation, medical care and education. People who are hungry, who are starving, should matter more than corporate profit. Corporate profit kills.

As one of the youngest and still growing SCM groups, Progressive Christians at the University of Essex were very happy to take part in this campaign as soon as we were asked. The problem was how. We don’t have that many members, and we feared that sending the template letter as a society would not be enough pressure for the university to change the way they do their procurement. Luckily our LGBT* Ambassador happened to be the chair of one of the university’s political societies, and they joined in too.

This gave me an idea: if people are not that likely to notice a campaign run by a Christian group, especially in a multicultural campus such as our own, why not run it together with more secular societies? At first our emails were ignored, and for a while the posters we put around campus only had the logo of our group and one other society. Then something happened, I do not know what exactly, but a third society joined us and after that it was a landslide of support coming from other Christian societies (but not all, unfortunately) as well as groups that were going to run in the Students’ Union elections.

Some of the university chaplains were also very quick to sign our petition.

As more and more societies joined in, more people liked our posts on the Freshers’ Facebook page, we printed more flyers and we started having an extra field in our online form asking where people had heard about the campaign from. From those results it was clear to us that most of the societies who agreed to join in the campaign did absolutely nothing to help us in collecting signatures, they didn’t even share the link on Facebook. What they did, though, was turn this campaign in something non-Christian and so non-religious people felt that they could sign freely, and that was all we needed. Most of our signatures came from people seeing the posters we printed and pinned to every university notice board, as well as our weekly stalls on the University squares, especially when we had food available! Our photo and hashtag campaign were not that successful, but still got us a few signatures.

In the end we sent all these signatures to the university, and they told us that they changed their policies without any further pressure. We won!

The bottom line is this: even small groups can affect big changes. Go for it!

Are you taking part in the Sourced campaign? Let us know how it's going and share your tips in the comments box below!

Tags: sourcedtax justiceChristian Aid Collective