At The David Project, we encourage our students to reach out to the larger community #backoncampus through our method of personal advocacy, using their personal narrative and sharing their connection to Israel with others. The personal narrative is a big part of our methodology and we train all of our students on it. However, sometimes we forget that our students won’t understand why having a personal narrative is so important in the broader context of outreach. During my internship trainings in Michigan and Pittsburgh over the past three weeks, this became increasingly apparent. Students approached me telling me how important it was for them to understand the theory of personal advocacy before they talked about their personal narrative. We can’t expect to change campus opinion without having buy-in from our own students. In a way, we are encouraging students to go on dates, only the focus is on a mutually beneficial partnership, and not on finding a husband or wife.
Marissa, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, said to me that it was “important to hear and learn about personal advocacy before reaching out to others to understand how we as students can impact others.”
Roei, from Carnegie Mellon University, agrees: “The idea behind a personal narrative can only start with personal advocacy. The idea is to make Israel real to others through us, so naturally the first step is to discover and talk about what Israel really is to us.”
These students, and others, understand why personal narrative is so effective, but know that without learning personal advocacy first, the narrative loses its meaning.
How has personal advocacy helped you understand your own connection to Israel?