Friday, March 27th, Barbara Walker (Granny Peace Brigade) and I went to Murry Bergtraum HS at noon to participate in the College Career Fair event. Since this was our first invite, I didn’t know what to expect, but knew that we needed something different to attract students to our table. Students were coming to the Career Fair to learn more about colleges, not to address the issue of countering military recruitment.
Anne Gibbons (CodePink NYC) designed a bright, attractive and engaging art board for our display. Our basic message for the day was – You Can Go to College Without Joining the Military.
Anne’s colorful tri-fold board addresses Truths and Myths of military promises by using drawings of seven students and statements he/she thinks to be true about military experience. A paper survey ‘What Do You Think?’ about each statement, accompanied the board display. After each student completed the survey, we discussed what is true or not true. This led to new understandings and insights for the student, and we realized this was an exceptional educational opportunity. The students were comfortable with the board display and wanted to learn more about their own misconceptions. Deanna Tilley, from AFSC, shared the table with us, and we were able to hand out the AFSC card of 17 Questions to Ask a Military Recruiter which complimented our message. We also gave out the new Options for Life After High School flyer, which was right on target with their basic needs.
More than 25 colleges were represented. Army, Navy, Marine recruiters had the first 3 tables as you entered the Career Fair. The military recruiters had give-aways, computers for use to explore military websites, and forms for the students to fill out about interests and for potential financial benefits. There you go – all the information a recruiter needs was spelled out for them.
A representative from Baruch College noted that in his 11 years at College Fairs, he had never seen a table like ours offering options and alternatives to the military. He though it was great and should be at every College Fair, which was encouraging.
Barbara, Deanna and I shared information that students needed and to which they responded. The Truth or Myth display board was a huge hit – It made all the difference in creating a bright, open and inviting environment and proved to be the magnet to help us achieve what we had set out to do.
Many thanks to Anne Gibbons for her creativity and generous time given to create the display.
The 7 statements: Truth or Myth? What do You Think?
- Joining the military is the only way I can pay for college!
- The military will train me in the field I want to work.
- The military protects women from sexual harassment.
- If I join the military, I’ll get to see the world.
- They won’t send me to a war zone if I don’t want to go.
- I can always resign and leave the military.
- Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome wouldn’t be a big problem for me.
– Barbara Harris