Kony 2012 event fails to move from Internet to campus

When 250 St. Thomas students RSVPed to the “Kony 2012 Cover The Night” event, organizers were anticipating a large turnout.

<p>Sophomore Claire Dittmann posts a Kony 2012 flyer Friday night in the John Roach Center during the "Kony 2012 Cover the Night" event. (Katherine Curtis/TommieMedia)</p>
Sophomore Claire Dittmann posts a Kony 2012 flyer Friday night in the John Roach Center during the "Kony 2012 Cover the Night" event. (Katherine Curtis/TommieMedia)

But even with all the hype surrounding the Kony 2012 movement, less than 20 people showed up to post flyers around campus.

The lack of participation may have been because the event took place on Friday night or because it conflicted with three other major events on campus: the Relay for Life, Breaking the Silence and Ebony Open Mic Night.

But the momentum behind the movement has declined since the 30-minute video first debuted online.

“I feel like the marketing didn’t really match up with what they were asking or what the cause was,” senior Nataly Sanchez said. “They didn’t really do anything. I feel like it’s a good concept, but I feel like it’s a scam concept to be honest.”

Part of the decline in the Kony 2012 campaign is due to public speculation of Invisible Children’s business practices, particularly the percentage of funds put toward direct services.

“I don’t associate with Invisible Children through my actions,” junior James Wheeler said. “I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do outside of the Kony movement. I’ve just done my research on websites, and I know that there are better organizations.”

Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russell’s public disturbance in March also played a role in the movement’s decline. According to the Huffington Post, a “brief reactive psychosis” brought on Russell’s meltdown, and he was detained after being caught in a San Diego neighborhood in his underwear, yelling and disrupting traffic.

Despite the negative publicity surrounding the organization, participating students went forward and covered the John Roach Center and Aquinas Hall with Kony posters.

“I think it starts small, and we raise awareness here,” said junior Sara Nordstrom, St.Thomas ‘Cover the Night’ representative. “Then maybe some students walking by will say, ‘Oh, who’s that? What’s that?’ and try and raise awareness themselves and maybe take on a more active role and contact policy-makers.”

Though there may be aspects of the organization that students distrust, Nordstrom said people should not overlook the greater good the campaign is attempting to bring.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity for students to come together as a community and work toward something that they believe in and they want to make a change,” Nordstrom said.

Katherine Curtis can be reached at curt1354@stthomas.edu.

5 Replies to “Kony 2012 event fails to move from Internet to campus”

  1. “people should not overlook the greater good the campaign is attempting to bring.” Invisible Children is ATTEMPTING to do something “good” but failing horribly because people see past their bull excrement. Invisible Children’s means do not justify their ends especially when there is no justifiable end. These people seem to think all of Uganda’s problems will be solved by arresting this one man (who isn’t even in Uganda).

  2. I wonder how many of these students would be okay with sending more US troops (yes, the US is actually trying to solve the problem already_see link below) to go after Kony, seeing as many of these types of interventions need large numbers of highly specialized soldiers on the ground…

    From my experience, these movements fail because people use phony and/or insincere motives and actions.

    Placing signs in a college campus is pretty much the LEAST helpful thing you can do.. At the end of the day, what can you substantively say you accomplished, making a couple more people “aware?” Not really. Those posters do not give any information nor do they really advocate a clear position. For instance, are you pushing for a large-scale military intervention by the US, the UN, or NATO? 

    At any rate, REAL change can be done with a little more effort directed in the right areas (i.e. write to your Senator or Congressional Representative). You can educate as many people as you want on the issues, but if the elected officials in this country are not shown how much people care about the issue, then they have no incentive to do anything.  


  3. It really bothers me that this group has set a dangerous precedent for measuring success of futher non-profits and their philanthropic missions. Basically in order to be ‘successful’ you have to make your cause cool and hip to be apart of; you have to hand out rubber wristbands and take it to society by putting up signs all over and vandalising. Raising awareness is great, but if that awareness leads to empty actions (or funding personal travel and really really over the top, appealing to emotion youtube vidoes). Hopefully Invisible Children is an anomoly and it isn’t the future of non-profits to come in this country…

  4. ‘Stop Kony 2012’ should be called ‘Stop Kony 2006/2007’ becuase thats when he was removed from whatever power he had. Kony is not even in Uganda now his army has disbanded. Invisable children raise awareness. however with a 85% of all donationa going to ‘overhead’ you have to question it. It is rated 2/5 as a non profit charity(Bottom 10%) because it does not have enough people on the board. A board means accountability. Maybe istead of donating your $10 to a non transparent charity you should spend $5 on buying Mr Jason Russell a new pair of pants(‘overhead’) and give $5 to a charity that makes diiffernce instead of promoting a fad that will be as short lived as buying furbies for christmas.

  5. All of the criticisms of the Kony movement have been well heard and documented. However, I hope that the UST community, while carefully considering the “worth” of causes, airs on the side of promoting justice and equality rather than cynicism. If you have found more “worthy” organizations who share the common goal of ending tyranny and oppression, please share. However, discrediting the cause because Kony’s power has decreased misses the point. Kony2012’s purpose is to bring about awareness of an injustice. You may differ on whether this should be brought about by intervention or not, however a norm should not be set that tyrannical leaders are not brought to justice simply because their power has declined in recent years. Bin Laden hadn’t committed a known act of terrorism for years after September 11, yet the public still demanded justice. Injustices of the past do not wash away with time and should be brought to light, something Kony2012 has actually successfully accomplished. 

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