Better Future Project launched our first ever Climate Justice Fellowship as part of our Campus Divestment Program this past January. For the spring 2016 semester, our fellowship includes ten college students from six schools in the Massachusetts region: Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and UMass Amherst. For the past few months, these passionate and talented activists have been connecting monthly at daylong trainings to grow their organizing skills, deepen their commitment to climate justice, and strategize for their campaigns with the support of a broader network.
Anna Brewer, Brandeis University Class of 2019
I am currently a freshman at Brandeis University and still unsure of what to study. I spend much of my time engaged in the divestment campaign on campus and have found amazing friends and a great community within our group. In addition to talking about saving the environment, I like to spend my time out in nature. I hail from upstate New York and enjoy all things associated with upstate: nature, farms, and the countryside. The BFP Fellowship has been an amazing addition to my semester. I have enjoyed the ability to grow my leadership skills, connect with other climate activists, and advance the campaign on my campus.
Elizabeth Cultrara, Tufts University Class of 2018
I am a sophomore at Tufts University studying chemical engineering. I have learned so much since getting involved with Tufts Climate Action during my first year. My favorite part of the BFP Fellowship has been building relationships with student organizers at other schools in the area. They are a wonderful source of inspiration as well as reassurance that we are all struggling with the same issues.
Claudia Davis, Brandeis University Class of 2019
I am a first-year student hoping to study environmental studies and biology. I'm originally from Georgia, a circus enthusiast, and a devoted lover of bees. I began working on climate justice just eight months ago at the beginning of the fall semester and I can say without a doubt that doing this work and being a part of the BFP Fellowship has been the highlight of my year. This experience has not only provided me with the tools to make Brandeis' campaign more productive and engaging but it has also given me the confidence to be more present in the divestment movement and the chance to get to know a killer community of incredible people!
Rachel Eckles, Boston University Class of 2017
Hi there! I am a junior studying economics and environmental policy. My passion for the outdoors was born from my family trips to northern Michigan every summer, where I thrived knowing the whole world was my backyard. Ever since then, I have wanted the same feeling for every young person. This passion brought me to Boston where I started exploring environmental and social justice as a future career and participated in Climate Summer, a biking and campaigning internship through Better Future Project. That experience and the BFP Climate Justice Fellowship have helped me develop my belief in the power of a small group of dedicated people, which has inspired me greatly as I work with other BU students to urge our school to divest from fossil fuels.
Nina Hazelton, UMass Amherst Class of 2015
I'm Nina Hazelton, a recent UMass Amherst graduate. At UMass I studied social and political theory. When I first came to college, I knew I wanted to work to address the urgency of climate change, but I did not understand how I could put my theory-based political education into action in my own community. When I got involved in the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign at UMass I learned how to build power with students and the UMass community to demand that our institution divest. I joined the BFP Climate Justice Fellowship to learn leadership skills to be a better organizer. The relationships we're making and the knowledge we’re sharing are growing the divestment movement and rooting me in the belief that every time we get together, we are shifting power.
Joan Hwang, Boston College Class of 2018
Hello! I’m Joan and I’m studying philosophy at Boston College, where I first was introduced to fossil-free divestment through Climate Justice at BC. Finding this community of folks around the world dedicated to taking action against the violence committed on our planet by targeting those who profit from it has utterly changed my life. The BFP Climate Justice Fellowship has been an invaluable experience that grounded me in the work I’m a part of with my passionate and inspiring peers who share this common mission. It fills me with power to think about the day when our campaigns have achieved their goals. We won’t rest until then.
Brian McGough, Tufts University Class of 2017
I’m a junior studying international relations and American studies. My primary area of interest is environmental policy, especially as it relates to climate change and domestic and global food systems. Outside of the classroom, I work on fossil fuel divestment with Tufts Climate Action (TCA). I love being a part of the BFP Climate Justice Fellowship for the opportunity to develop concrete leadership and campaign organizing skills. I am proud to bring what I have learned back to TCA for all to use. My favorite time of day is the hour right before sunset when the light is soft and golden.
Matthew Thacker, Boston University Class of 2018
I am currently a sophomore studying environmental analysis and policy. I'm from Newton, Massachusetts, and I love my dog, board games, and playing outside. I've been working on divestment and climate justice since my senior year of high school and I'm super excited and grateful to be learning so much through the BFP Climate Justice Fellowship!
Austin Williams, Northeastern University Class of 2017
I am a junior pursuing a joint degree in environmental studies and political science. Originally from Southern California, I now work in my university community primarily on fossil fuel divestment and youth engagement in progressive politics. In my free time, I enjoy playing Super Smash Bros. and engaging in pointless debates on Facebook.