cover letter - Elon University

Brian C. O’Shea
SGA Executive Treasurer
Students for Peace and Justice
Students for Peace and Justice started spring semester by defining our principles
and mission statement to reunite the group after winter term. We have established this
mission statement:
Elon Students for Peace and Justice is a student-run network of nonviolent
progressive activists—students, faculty, staff, and local residents—at Elon University,
NC, USA, working on and off campus toward a peaceful and just world. Firmly
committed to only nonviolent methods of protest, promotion and education, we act on our
responsibilities as global citizens by addressing social, political, environmental, and
economic justice and peace issues.
The SGA Budget allotted for the 2004-2005 academic year will be used to help us fulfill
our mission. Our organization was founded on Elon’s campus by Elon professors in
1995 and is not part of any national organization. We are funded solely by the monies
granted by the Student Government Association.
This year has been one of change for SFPJ, as officers transitioned late last spring,
we said goodbye to the seniors who made up the majority of the group. This fall we have
welcomed new members, mostly freshman and reenergized sophomores. As the group
was mostly new members, we struggled to find our identity and our focus for the
semester. Our president, Mike Neely has designed a wonderful new website for us that details who we have grown to be this year. We attended The
National Student Make Trade Fair Conference run by Global Justice and OXFAM
America in Washington, D.C. a three day conference and recently we attended the three
day S.U.R.G.E. Conference (Students United for a Responsible Global Environment) in
Chapel Hill. Both conferences have educated our members about global issues and have
Brian C. O’Shea
SGA Executive Treasurer
Students for Peace and Justice
given us the energy and resources to pursue our current campaigns on trade justice, antislavery and anti-sweatshop work.
This spring we are planning for another EarthFest in cooperation with The Sierra
Club that brings music and education to the Elon Campus. In the next two weeks (at time
of writing) we will be getting our first Aramark shipment of Fair Trade Coffee to be sold
in The Acorn, Octagon Café, and Harden Dining Hall. With the arrival of the coffee will
be a large educational campaign to let Elon students know the importance and reasoning
behind Fair Trade Coffee. On March 30th we will be bring Dr. James Cook from Duke
University to speak in Yeager Recital Hall on the struggle against sweatshops. This is
our first speaker of the spring semester and we plan to continue this through the 20042005 academic year.
Following the development of our new mission statement mentioned in the first
paragraph, we have decided on eight principles that will help us maintain our focus for
the coming academic year. They are:
1. The basis for a more desirable world is offered in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and The EarthCharter.
2. Oppression is a preventable violation of the ideas articulated therein and is
unacceptable in all its forms.
3. All humans benefiting from any institution engaged in oppression are complicit in
that oppression.
4. All humans – especially citizens of a democratic state – with the facility to fight
oppression are obligated to do so.
5. To eliminate the roost of oppression that plaque our world, we are obligated to
confront oppressive institutions.
6. A globalized world community is inevitable and brings with it both inhibitive and
promotive forces toward a more desirable world.
7. Although volunteer work is a necessary element of civil society, its ability to
eliminate institutionalized oppression is inherently limited.
Brian C. O’Shea
SGA Executive Treasurer
Students for Peace and Justice
8. Nonviolent progressive activism has a rich and successful history and is the most
potent anti-oppression tool; oppression is not fought with oppression.
Our allocated SGA budget combined with our human capital will help us to
achieve our goals for the coming semester and the 2004-2005 academic year: We are to
educate ourselves and our community about conflict and injustice in the world, foster a
community of nonviolent and aware activists, participate actively and consistently in the
democratic process and help build peace and justice philosophies into our minds and our
The current members and leaders are committed to work for social justice
nonviolently in the world and on Elon’s campus. As active students and professors, we
know SFPJ provides the opportunity to discuss, educate, and inspire its members as well
as the campus to work for justice and to let Elon students take part in socio-political
Michael Neely
Jonathan Aleshire