Grassroots Efforts

One of the ways that US Servas strives to increase its membership and further its mission of peace through cross-cultural exchange is through grassroots outreach efforts. We encourage involvement by Servas members on the local level and hope that the below projects will not only bring in new members, but also help current members get more involved. Listed below are current US Servas outreach projects.

YOUTH OUTREACH INITIATIVE

In January of 2003, US Servas received a small grant that enabled us to begin reaching out to college students across the country! If you are a Servas host or traveler and would like to get involved locally, please read below.

Colleges are traditionally major sources of grassroots mobilization and college students are often interested in traveling abroad, whether it be to study, volunteer, work or discover new places and cultures. With the grant funds that we received we were able to produce youth-focused posters, flyers and information sheets and become members of NAFSA, an organization which promotes the exchange of students as a way to build global community and respect among different peoples.

Our youth pilot project is focused particularly on internationally-minded students interested in studying abroad. As members of NAFSA, we are able to network with study abroad officers from around the country and have culled a group of 250 colleges nationwide for our pilot group.

Since January, 2003, we have built relationships with over 25 study abroad offices around the country and have for the first time been invited to study abroad fairs at Harvard University, Augsburg College, Humboldt State University, Utah State University and Towson University, among others. Local Servas members and key persons are representing Servas at these fairs and sharing with students how they can travel and build peace at the same time through Servas’ homestay programs. We estimate that we have reached at least 2,000 students.

As these students become Servas travelers and later Servas hosts, we will have increased our membership and strengthened worldwide peace efforts by fostering a global community among young Americans.

This project is ongoing as we continue to build relationships with colleges and discover new ways to spread the word about Servas to students.

Get Involved!

If you are interested in getting involved in college outreach, we can use your help! By coupling the work we are doing here in the office with that of you, our local members, we can reach students around the country. There are several ways you can help:

  1. If you are interested in approaching a local college or already have, please contact the office so that we can keep track of which colleges we have approached and put them on our mailing list. We can also share experiences and best practices!

  2. If you would like to volunteer for presentations or study abroad fairs please contact the office and we will put you on a college volunteer list for future events.

  3. If you don’t have time to do the outreach yourself but know the Study Abroad or International Student Officer in your alma mater or local college, put them in touch with the office or contact us with their name and contact info and we will see how Servas can best serve their students.

If you are a student, professor, college administration officer or college alumni and would like to be more involved in college outreach please contact the Office at info@usservas.org or at 707-825-1714.

SERVAS IN THE MEDIA

Spread the Word! Servas is seeking more hosts and travelers, and we need your help! Help us spread the word about Servas by submitting brief advertisements and/or full-length articles to local newspapers or publications. Here are some tips on how to make Servas more visible in your local community and throughout the country.

Advertisements: Announce local or regional Servas events with a brief advertisement. There are no funds available for a paid advertisement, but many publications and organizations do not charge for a brief announcement for a non-profit organization.

Full-length Articles: Submit articles that explain Servas’ mission and detail your personal experiences meeting people across cultures. If you are a writer, we would be delighted if you used your talents to write an article on Servas.

Sample Local Publications: Local newspapers, local events calendars (TV, newspaper, etc.), alumni magazines; newsletters for professional groups, churches, temples, synagogues, colleges, travel-related groups, exchange-student and foreign-student clubs, peace and coexistence organizations.

Sources for Media Contacts:
http://newslink.org/ (Enter your city/state and it will give you a listing of all local media)
http://www.fair.org/media-contact-list.html (National newspapers, TV and radio)

Please help Servas recruit new members by submitting ads and articles about Servas events and experiences. When you do, please contact the Arcata California office at info@usservas.org or at 707-825-1714 so we can track what works.