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Voting and Civic Engagement

Learn how to become active in your nation, your state, your local community, and at UNT!

Tips for how to organize a protest

1) Goals. A protest can increase public awareness of an issue or persuade elected officials to make changes. Decide what you want to accomplish and who the intended audiences is to achieve the desired outcome.

2) Where. Pick a location that will best reach your target audience when possible (in front of a courthouse, business, or administrative building.)

3) When. Pick a day and time where you will have the most impact, such as at an event, when you can rally the most supporters, or when you will have the largest audience.

4) Permits. On campus, UNT recognizes that freedom of expression and public assembly are fundamental rights of all persons and are essential components of the education process.  These activities promote debate and the sharing of ideas, which are the foundation of educational institutions. Contact the Dean of Students Office to reserve designated spaces for your protest. Off campus, contact the city to obtain the appropriate permit.

5) Plan. Consider how you will be the most effective, holding signs and passing out literature, protest chants, marching from one location to another, or speakers who are passionate about the issue. Consider additional things such as having plenty of sunscreen and water on hand if your group will be outside for several hours.

6) Promote. Promotion can be just as important as the protest itself. Create a clear message that people will remember, hopefully one that includes a call to action. Use social media, post flyers and contact local media outlets (television news, radio, or newspaper.)

7) Be courteous.  There will be people there who disagree with you, be respectful of their opinions; you are more likely to persuade someone to see this issue from your perspective with civil discussion. If police are at the protest, be polite and follow their instructions.

Organizing on the UNT Campus

Questions about the campus policy on Freedom of Speech? Contact the Dean of Students Office

Need resources and information to organize a protest? Ask a Librarian!

How to start a petition

Research. Spend time reviewing both all sides of the issue. Develop a focused argument that describing the issue, what is needed for improvement and why, along with your respectful, formal call to action. If you need help with this step, ask your Librarian at AskUs@unt.edu.

Requirements. Your target organization may have specific guidelines for considering petitions. This could include approvals, numbers of signatures, and the correct office or individual to address.  

Format. Decide on paper, e-petition, or both. Your petition should include:

  • A title: “Petition to [Action Requested]”
  • A summary of the issue
  • The specific action petitioned for: “We, the undersigned, are [your group name,] respectfully request [include your action item here in 10 words or less]”
  • Space for names, signatures and addresses

Starting Petitions Online

Activism & Archives

Archiving activism and social movements is important to share the story of the participants, the actions, and the moments. There are a number of resources available to help with archiving activism.

UNT Archives & the Student Demonstration Poster Collection

Student Demonstration Poster Collection

UNT Libraries Special Collections has a Student Demonstration Poster Collection. This collection is comprised of large posters created by students of the University of North Texas. A majority of the posters are decorated with handwritten phrases and drawings, though several have been created through stamps.

First accretion consists of posters created in the course of the "Willis Wall Demonstration" which took place on September 21, 2016. This spontaneous demonstration was started by student Jazmine McGill, who placed six posters on the exterior of Willis Library. The posters expressed frustration and anger at a series of events in the news involving policy brutality and violence against African Americans. The posters also expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Throughout the day on September 21, 2016 students added their own posters to the wall, and added additional comments to those posters. Additional posters were added to the collection in 2017 following a similar poster demonstration in a different campus location in 2017.

UNT Archives

The University Archive is the home for the university’s historical documents, photos, collections and artifacts. Scholarly researchers, genealogists, historians, students, faculty and the public are all welcome to use the University Archive.

Browse the “University Archive” category of finding aids to see what university resources are available for research.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE UNIVERSITY ARCHIVE

We encourage UNT staff and faculty to become familiar with the records that need preservation and follow the records retention schedule. As mandated by the Board of Regents, the University Archive permanently preserves records of enduring value. A few examples of records that come to the Archives are: department publications, photographs, broadcasts, reports, and biographical records (such as faculty vitas). You can learn more information about contributing here.

YOU CAN HELP WITH KEEPER APP

Help us build the archive of the future by preserving a piece of your digital life—whatever that may be. You can submit anything from a selfie on your first day of class to a video on your graduation day. Archivists will review submissions of digital photos, documents, and short videos for preservation in the University Archive and UNT Digital Library.

Submitting materials to Keeper is easy. Follow the Keeper link here, and simply drag and drop files from your desktop, or upload files directly from your mobile device. Once files are added to the app, tell us a little about who you are and what you are contributing to the archive.

Materials added to the University Archive and UNT Digital Library will be part of a growing research collection of publicly accessible, digital archival materials. Learn more about Keep by following the link.

Additional Links

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