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Access Champions

Highlights from Week 5 Mission: Iterate and Steal

This week, we’d like to share some more highlights from our mission reports that showcase creative actions our Labs are planning—and how actions evolve as our squads reach their targets! Their mission this week was to iterate and steal: to repeat actions with new targets, and to borrow strategy and tactics from other Labs after reading their Mission Reports. In order to track their progress, Labs were asked to identify where they currently are on our Progress Map, and to decide where they can go next.

The Free the Vaccine progress map.

The Seals Try Singing

In our Labs, we’ve learned that an email is the most obvious option, but easy to ignore. One of our Seal squads decided to change things up by making singing audio cards to send to one researcher, for a message that’s both hard to ignore and hard to throw away.

That’s not all the squad is up to, either. After reaching a scientist at McGill with a video letter, they have had several meetings with him to discuss the Open COVID Pledge. With their foot in the door, they’re now focusing on refining their arguments with the help of Canadian students!

In their mission report, Sofia Weiss-Goitandia shares that

None of the actions are incredibly complex to understand or do, we feel. They are simple, but fun and creative tactics that take traditional approaches a little outside of the box. And they’ve worked well so far.

As Sofia points out, these tactics aren’t convoluted or difficult for other activists to replicate. But they easily increase the response rate and help develop a personal connection with their target!

The Jaguarundis Make the News

Last week, we shared the work our Jaguarundi Lab is doing to target the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Since then, they have delivered their message to UFMG in a creative way, with a locked box representing the symbolic medicine “solidarivir” and a key to the box, decorated with the names decorated with the 350+ signatories to their petition.

This artistic action received more than 4.6K views on Facebook and was even featured in the news!

At the same time, the team has been able to confirm that UFPel is having discussions about the Open COVID Pledge, and they hope to keep pushing for the university to make the right decision.

The Otters Stay Motivated

Even the most clever, creative actions don’t always get a response. The Otters haven’t heard back from researchers at USC and UCLA since sending out the playing cards we shared with you last week, but they’re not discouraged. Instead, they’re thinking of ways to push the campaign forward: could they use the USC Trojans fight song in a creative way to continue delivering their message? Are there other sports rivalries—like Berkeley vs Stanford, or Berkeley vs Davis—that they could apply their creativity to?

We want to emphasize that creativity doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, and it would be a shame if only one squad got to use the creative tactics they have all been brainstorming! The Wolverine Lab is currently brainstorming how they can incorporate the thank you cake tactic from the Fox Lab and the playing cards tactic from the Otter Lab into reaching their own targets! Meanwhile, the Seal squad that has seen success with their video message and audio card is thinking about targeting the same researchers as the Seal squad growing plants for COVID Research Champions, in the hopes that doubling their efforts will help them gently increase pressure on the targets.

And speaking of thank-you cakes… we haven’t forgotten our promise to share pictures. Here’s Fox Lab’s Praise Temple family holding the first of our Free The Vaccine cakes, and wearing “equal access” masks crafted by Lab members Edith and Penny!

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