Online petition site Change.org was created to give people an online platform to create the change they want to see in the world. Petitions are constantly circulating through social media, but what exactly happens once they are signed?
Online petitions have become more prevalent as technology has expanded, and sites such as Change.org offer over 250 million users an outlet to highlight what’s important to them.
Political Science Professor Anna Gunderson says Change.org is important to political action.
“Any sort of site that tries to bring attention to issues that we may not be paying attention to as a society, I think is definitely a good thing in terms of providing information to people who might not know about the issues presented,” Gunderson said. “Rodney Reed being one example as lots of folks probably didn’t even know who he was or the circumstances around his case, so I think the Change.org site is a really good way ofndisseminating information.”
Rodney Reed was scheduled to be executed on November 20 until the Texas appeals court granted a stay of execution upon new evidence. Petitions were a crucial part in getting the word out to everyday citizens and even celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
Gunderson says petitions are a good way to bring awareness to issues whether the petition itself changes the minds of lawmaker.
“I cannot think of a single example in which the petition itself is the reason why something changed,” Gunderson said.
The Rodney Reed petition gained over 600,000 signatures but is still shy of its goal of 1 million.
In a statement to Tiger TV, Change.org said “Starting a petition is a really simple process - anyone can go online, create a petition for an issue they care about (as long as it follows our community policy guidelines), and send that petition to their contacts or share on their social channels. Signature goals are guideposts for starters, and help build up momentum for a campaign.”
The company also stated that “about 19,000 petitions have become victories since 2017.”
At LSU, petitions have been created to bring awareness to sustainable straws, sorority pomping and even a morning kickoff time.
Second-year student Bryce Billiot says any change matters and advises other citizens to take part in petitions.
“It is one of the most fundamental elements of our democracy because it’s not only giving you the right to speak on the change but the right to act on change,” Billiot said.
Change.org told Tiger TV that the site notifies the group or organization the petition is targeting, so they are aware of how many signatures have been obtained.