University’s Invisible Children chapter works to fix tarnished reputation of ‘Kony 2012’

Anne Buie

Pacotoo Gabriel, a nineteen year-old from Uganda, speaks at an Invisible Children movie screening in I.G. Greer Tuesday night. Amy Kwiatkowski | The AppalachianIn an attempt to combat some of the rumors surrounding the March “Kony 2012” campaign, the university chapter of the Invisible Children club showed the organization’s most recent film “MOVE” Tuesday to a small crowd.

The event was marketed as a direct response to the public criticism following the previous documentary and the controversy surrounding the management of the organization as a whole that arose following the films massive viral success and the mental breakdown of the organization’s founder Jason Russell only 10 days after the premier.

The presentation featured a 30-minute film detailing the organization’s founders and their candid responses to the controversy. The film contained previously unreleased footage from the offices of Invisible Children, as well as a call for supporters to take part in an upcoming event in Washington, D.C.

The film was followed by a talk by a survivor of the conflict in northern Uganda, and then a question-and-answer session with one of Invisible Children’s self-described “roadies.”

“One of the biggest things we want to do right now is to answer people’s questions that they may have had about Kony, and next we want to see who will come to D.C. with us,” said Invisible Children affiliate Jamie Lansburg.

She said that she was “excited” to get the chance to come to Appalachian.

“We heard that last semester things got a little crazy, so we’re glad to have the chance to answer questions and talk face-to-face about everything that happened and connect with people in that way,” Lansburg said.

Sophomore communication disorders major and vice president of the club Maddy Burns said the event went “pretty well” overall.

“Not that many people asked questions, but I think they were just overwhelmed by the story and how powerful it was,” Burns said.

Despite scattered attendance, Burns was glad to see audience members approaching information tables after the showing.

“People are conversing, talking about things and diving into the issues rather than taking it at face value like before where they either believed Kony 2012 was a scam or not,” Burns said.

Junior public relations major and promotion officer for the campus chapter Natasha Greendyk spoke of the increased club activity in March and following months.

“Here it was just overwhelming because nobody knew what was going to happen,” Greendyk said. “We handled it the best we could. We’re dedicated supporters of Invisible Children, so we stuck by them through it all and just did what needed to get done, like we always have.”

The Invisible Children club meets Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Newland Hall classroom.


Story: LOVEY COOPER, A&E Reporter

Photo: AMY KWIATKOWSKI, Intern Photographer