Dorm Storming

Dorm Storming is the process by which student activists go systematically through a dorm, knocking on every door, in order to raise money or awareness, and most often, in order to register students to vote.

There are some ways to make it more successful:

1. Teams. People get scared of dorm storming alone, so make sure the students you've recruited know that they're going in teams, and at best, teams of three.

2. Motivation. Guilt trips rarely work to motivate. That said, if you also make the guilt trip funny, like a poem, it certainly helps. But people won't volunteer again for something if they don't think it's fun and/or important and if they don't feel appreciated. Thus, don't forget to always remind people why they are doing something; throw in the inspiration that sent you door to door. Tell them why their actions will effect change in our country, reminding people why their actions make a difference never gets old and is very important. But also, find ways to keep both the dorm storming and the post/pre dorm storming fun.

Example of Jonathan Backer's amazing guilt-trip poem:
There once was a group called the dems,
Who signed up to help by the tens.
But when their day came,
They were a bit lame,
Still we love them because they are gems.

3. Use the phone. If you call everyone the day they are supposed to volunteer and just tell them how much you appreciate their work and to confirm when you'll be seeing them, that makes it harder for them to slip out and more likely that they'll show up.

4. Always plan ahead, because liberal activism is complicated. Consider postering along hallways where you'll be showing up to dorm storm ahead of time to tell everyone in the Dorm when and why you're coming door to door to talk with them, and to give them a heads up to your issue. It might make the people on the floor more open to listening, but it will definitely make the dorm stormers feel more comfortable if they think they're not completely cold knocking.

This is one of those moments when volunteerism is particularly difficult because of the nature of the work.

People at columbia want to do jobs that give them power/responsibility/creativity/etc, and not bitch work, and they consider dorm storming bitch work, unfortunately. Thus, you either have to find a way to make it seem more creative/interesting/etc, which I tried my sophomore year with the Dorm Captain program, or you have to attach service doing what they might consider bitch work to something that will allow them to do something awesome/powerful/creative in the future.

At the end of the day, don't forget that people are difficult.

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