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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Michelle and Merced: An Assertiveness Triumph

The students of the University of California at Merced wanted to invite Michelle Obama to speak at their graduation. It seemed difficult - this was their first graduation and there were only 500 graduates at this start-up university. They were undaunted and decided to speak up for themselves to reach their goal.

One of their most effective ways to speak up was to create a You-Tube video:

They set up a Facebook page for their "Dear Michelle" campaign and created a template for the letter they hoped the students would write to request that our First Lady speak to their graduation. Here's an example of one of the letters.

The key throughout the effort to speak up and ask Michelle Obama to be the commencement speaker was the use of RESPECT. You'll notice in the sample letter linked in the previous paragraph, that respect for her time and schedule is noted as the request is made.

Respect is the key to effective assertiveness. In this effort, however, respect was only one component. The students persevered with letter writing, Valentines, and video media to emphasize both their request and the importance of getting their wish granted.

They succeeded in their great effort to speak up for themselves and on May 16, Michelle Obama spoke at their graduation!

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