FIRE Activism Report

FIRE Activism Report

Tell us about your activism!

We want to hear about your activism efforts! Please fill out FIRE’s Activism Report to let us know what you’re doing to create change at your college or university. To sweeten the deal, the FIRE Student Network is providing incentives for each eligible activism report submission.

To participate, fill out the Activism Report using your .edu email address. Please attach supporting documents, links, and/or photos to supplement your report. Additional documents can be sent to students@thefire.org. FIRE may contact you for additional details or supporting documents. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

Current students at U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate. All submissions will be judged by a panel of judges with expertise in free speech and campus activism. Initiatives must be related to FIRE’s mission.

In awarding prizes, the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • The number of actions completed
  • The impact made on campus and the community
  • Creativity in the execution of the initiative
  • The amount of communication and work done with diverse coalitions on campus
  • The specific description of the activism efforts

Advocate

An advocate has taken the first steps toward creating change on campus. Students who qualify as advocates have created buzz about free speech on campus and worked to educate themselves and their peers.

Example activities include:

  • Create and circulate a Chicago Statement petition or postcard appeal
  • Paper your campus with flyers about current university speech codes
  • Conduct a social media campaign targeting a speech code or advocating for the Chicago Statement
  • Meet with an administrator to discuss speech codes (email speechcodes@thefire.org for a speech code analysis) or the Chicago Statement

Those who are placed in the advocate category are eligible to choose from one of the following incentives:

  • FIRE Moleskine notebook
  • FIRE to-go coffee cup
  • FIRE umbrella

Activist

An activist has engaged in more than one initiative to promote the First Amendment on campus. They have successfully generated awareness through an event, policy reform initiative, or activity.

Example activities include:

  • Write an op-ed about a university’s policy or the Chicago Statement
  • Host a free-speech related event, such as a debate or free speech zone stakeout
  • Introduce a student government resolution to adopt a version of the Chicago Statement or change a university policy
  • Host a FIRE speaker

Those who are placed in the activist category are eligible to choose from one of the following incentives:

  • FIRE quarter zip
  • $50 Visa gift card

Change-maker

Change-makers organize and engage in consistent, repeated efforts that accumulate to create real change on campus. These individuals act as a resource for other students and an ambassador for the First Amendment.

Example activities include:

  • Start a student organization focused on free speech issues (with one of the main goals being getting speech codes revised and statements like the Chicago Statement passed)
  • Start a Student Defenders group
  • Engage in advocacy that results in the positive revision of a speech code or adoption of the Chicago Statement
  • Regularly engage with FIRE’s social media content and routinely share FIRE resources and opportunities

Those who are placed in the change-maker category will have travel costs covered for FIRE conferences and are eligible to choose from one of the following incentives:

  • FIRE Patagonia backpack and $50 Visa gift card
  • Apple AirPods
  • $150 Visa gift card

Ready to get started? Check out FIRE’s Activism Toolkits, which offer guidance and sample activities you can organize to raise awareness of and fight against campus speech codes. Here are a few additional suggestions to help in your activism brainstorming:

Read FIRE student guides

FIRE has published a series of concise and easy-to-understand guides on free speech and due process issues on campus. You can request copies of FIRE’s Guides or read them online to learn more about civil liberties at America’s colleges and universities.

Host a FIRE speaker

Invite a FIRE staffer to speak at your school to discuss free speech or due process issues on your campus. Alternatively, think about bringing politically diverse speakers to campus so that you and your campus community have the opportunity to hear from a variety of perspectives on important topics.

Work with administrators to enact policy reform

Far too many colleges across the country fail to live up to their free speech obligations in policy and in practice. Being aware of these problematic policies is the first step toward changing them and spreading awareness about them on your campus.

Write an op-ed

By voicing your opinions on any issue, you can ignite discussion on your campus and flex your free speech muscles. Op-eds are an awesome platform for urging your school to adopt the Chicago Statement or to eliminate restrictive (and possibly unconstitutional) free speech zone policies. Check out our tips for advice on how to submit your op-ed to a campus newspaper or professional publication.

Start a Student Defenders group

Host a “free speech zone” stakeout or on-campus protest

One tried and true way to make your voice heard on campus is to lead or take part in a protest. Time and again, college campus protests have led the charge for social change. Check out FIRE’s FAQ For Student Protests on Campus to learn more about your rights when participating in a protest.

Present to your student government

Pass the Chicago Statement

Host an event

Events are a great way to educate your campus community about the importance of free speech and due process rights on campus or call attention to and gather support for any cause.

Start a student group on campus

Establishing a club is one way to promote the values of free speech, open dialogue, and student rights on campus. Depending on your school’s policies, registered student organizations might have the ability to reserve space in university buildings, secure funding, and invite outside speakers.