Transition and Transformation: Reflecting on the Spring 2018 Climate Organizing Fellowship

Written by Anastasia Christilles, Spring 2018 Campus Organizing Intern

A goofy picture of our fellows at our final fellowship training on April 15th. Not all fellows were able to make it so some are not pictured.

Springtime is often associated with transition and transformation. Longer days. Flowers blooming. Trees budding with new leaves. While the weather in Boston as of late hasn’t exactly reflected that change, students have been gearing up for their critical transition from the spring semester to the next school year in the fall. Our fellows have been focusing on how to plan for this transition in their climate campaigns during the last two trainings of the Spring 2018 Climate Organizing Fellowship.

Our final two trainings of this year’s fellowship consisted of learning about leadership development, planning transition plans for the fall, and meeting with the Campus Divestment Advisory Committee (CDAC). In our March training, fellows learned about the ladder of engagement, distributing leadership within campaigns, and how to get new people involved as core organizers.

In our April training this past Sunday, fellows brainstormed ideas of how to keep campaigns active over the summer and how to start the fall semester strong. They were also joined by several members of the CDAC, who offered valuable answers to students’ questions about investing and financial literacy. We ended this final training in a circle where both fellows and CDAC members shared their suggestions and hopes for Better Future Project’s upcoming expansion into national campus divestment organizing.

This semester, BFP will make its own transition from working with schools in Massachusetts to supporting young climate leaders across the country. This is not just a transition--it’s a transformation. As a graduating student who has spent all four years of college working on fossil fuel divestment at Brandeis, I’m excited to see Better Future Project continue its commitment towards supporting and empowering other student organizers like myself.

Thank you to our fellows for always putting their best foot forward!Thank you to our fellows for always putting their best foot forward!
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Our Campus Organizing Work is Expanding!

We are excited to share an important update about Better Future Project and the national campus divestment movement!

Since 2012, Better Future Project (BFP) has been providing support to student fossil fuel divestment campaigns in coordination with groups like 350.org and the Divestment Student Network (DSN). We have funded a full-time organizer position to provide deep and ongoing training and mentorship to students for the past six academic years. We have run immersive summer organizing training programs, led day-long mass trainings for budding student climate organizers, planned mass multi-campus student actions, and run year-long organizing fellowships for dedicated divestment organizers. Among our most notable victories were helping students win first coal, then full fossil fuel divestment in the University of Massachusetts system (the first major public university to fully divest from fossil fuels), full divestment from Lesley University, and partial coal and tar sands divestment from Boston University.


The most recent cohort of students from our 2017-18 Climate Organizing Fellowship with members of our Campus Divestment Advisory Committee!

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Better Future Project and 350 Mass are hosting the 2018 March for Science in Boston!

We are proud to announce that Better Future Project and 350 Mass are hosting the 2018 March for Science in Boston!

At the 2017 March for Science, tens of thousands of us came together to defend science against the assault by leaders in our federal government, and to proclaim the importance of science in public policy and celebrate the discovery, understanding, and sharing of scientific knowledge as crucial to the success, health, and safety of the human race. Together, we were part of more than one million people around the world who gathered together in the largest event for science advocacy in history.

On Saturday, April 14th, we will continue to use the momentum of last year’s march to once again lift up these same themes and ideals, but we won't stop there. In 2018, we'll also take the offensive and rally behind specific climate legislation that will advance certain science- and evidence-based policy in the Massachusetts state legislature, with an eye to passage this year. In 2018 in Massachusetts, science is striking back!

Please RSVP today, spread the word far and wide and join us for this historic occasion at Christopher Columbus Park at 1pm-3pm on April 14th 2018!

Learn more about the 2018 March for Science: Science Strikes Back!: www.marchforscienceboston.org



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Over 55 students gather for BFP’s largest Mass Climate Organizing Training yet!

Written by Anastasia Christilles, Spring 2018 Campus Organizing Intern

On Sunday, February 25th, Better Future Project hosted the Spring 2018 Mass Climate Organizing Training, bringing together over 55 students from 16 different campuses in Massachusetts (and one from New Hampshire)! This training was led and run by this semester’s Climate Organizing Fellows, from registration to coordinating the food to facilitating the trainings. The Mass Climate Organizing Training is a key component of our year-long Climate Organizing Fellowship program. The fellows spend the fall learning about campaign organizing through monthly workshops and individual mentorship sessions. Then in the spring, they spend a month learning how to facilitate and design workshops and trainings so that they can be the next generation of student organizing trainers!

Group photo of all attendees from BFP’s Spring 2018 Mass Climate Organizing Training.
Group photo of all attendees from BFP’s Spring 2018 Mass Climate Organizing Training.
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Meet our Spring 2018 Climate Organizing Fellows on February 25th!

Introducing our Spring 2018 Climate Organizing Fellows! We are lucky to have 14 fellows from 7 campuses who have are dedicating much of their free time to growing their leadership skills and to developing as strong organizers in their campus climate campaigns.

Read on to learn about our fellows and their upcoming Mass Climate Organizing Training!

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Reflecting on the Fall 2017 Climate Organizing Fellowship

Last fall semester, twelve students from six campuses across Massachusetts came together for the 2017-18 Better Future Project Climate Organizing Fellowship program.

Group photo of the fellows at the second fall training

The fellows range from first-years to seniors, and many are members of fossil fuel divestment campaigns, continuing a 5-year old movement to get their schools to divest their endowments from investments in fossil fuel companies. Some are also actively pursuing carbon pricing campaigns with the support of Put A Price On It to get their schools to advocate for a statewide carbon pricing bill.

The Climate Organizing Fellowship program is now in its third year, and it remains one of the few opportunities for students in Massachusetts to get trained in grassroots organizing skills to advance their climate action and climate justice campaigns, both on campus and beyond. This year-long program convenes these 12 students every month for day-long organizing trainings that allows them to develop a broad set of climate organizing skills and political education and to also build a strong community of peers.

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Students Take Action on November 15th to ask Colleges to Stand up to Fossil Fuels and Secure a Just #ClimateLegacy

On November 15th, students across the country are taking action

The world’s leaders are currently meeting in Bonn, Germany to negotiate how to move forward with the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has initiated a process to remove the United States from this list of countries ratifying the agreement, and his administration is actively pushing fossil fuel interests over our health and livelihoods. For multiple years now, students have refused to let their schools profit from fossil fuels while they continue to pay thousands of dollars a year for an education.

That’s why on November 15th, students across the country will take action to demand that their campus leaders stand up against fossil fuels. If our schools are serious about acting to fight climate change and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, the next step is for them is to end their support of fossil fuel companies. That means divesting from fossil fuels and committing to 100% renewable energy.

As we take action on November 15th, we pave a path for communities who will be bringing this same fight to state capitols across the country on November 18th. From campuses to capitols, young people are leading the way. We are declaring this resistance our #ClimateLegacy. We will be remembered as people who fought for a livable, safe, and just future; and if our elected leaders will not join us, we will be remembered as the generation that uncovered their shameful #ClimateLegacy and stripped them of undeserved leadership!

On November 15th, students at twelve campuses across the U.S., including Yale University, Boston University, UC Santa Barbara, Tufts University, and Washington University, are organizing rallies, art installations, and discussions to ignite and stoke the fire of their divestment and climate campaigns. They will share how their campaigns have contributed to the youth climate movement for the last 5 years and why Trump’s presidency makes their work more urgent than ever.

Follow their actions and stories at #ClimateLegacy. Updates from the participating campuses will be shared on the Better Future Project Facebook Page and lay the groundwork for an explosion of stories and action on Saturday the 18th - all united by the question: “What will be our #ClimateLegacy?”

If you want to know more about the campus actions, contact Alyssa Lee from Better Future Project at alyssa@betterfutureproject.org.

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Students kick off the semester at BFP Mass Climate Organizing Training

Written by Sarah Jacqz, BFP Campus Organizing Intern

2017-10-01 MCOT (5) Group Photo.jpg

On October 1st, Better Future Project held our second ever Mass Climate Organizing Training. Over thirty students representing eight campuses gathered at MIT to learn about the climate movement, discuss intersections of climate change and other issues, learn campaign skills, and connect with students across the state!  

The students came from Boston University, Brandeis, MIT, College of the Holy Cross, Clark, Smith, Tufts, and Bennington College in Vermont. The majority of students had been involved with their campaigns for less than 1 year, and 1/3 of the students overall had only just joined this semester!  

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Join the Governor's office climate stand-ins!

baker_well_lit.jpgThis week marks a powerful escalation in our stand-in with Mass Power Forward for climate action at Governor Baker's office: On Friday, the largest Protestant denomination in the Commonwealth—the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (MACUCC)—will join our lunchtime stand-ins. 

MACUCC Minister and President Reverend Jim Antal will lead Friday's stand-in and is inviting many of the MACUCC's 60,000 congregants to participate as we build our numbers each week. 

But we still need YOU! Sign up here to join the #StandUpCharlie stand-ins and spend your lunch break once, twice or every day calling on Governor Baker to lead in this historic moment when our stable climate future is truly on the line. After you sign up, we'll follow up to get you scheduled. 

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Hurricane Harvey: When the unprecedented is the new normal

This afternoon the waters are still rising in and around Houston. Hurricane Harvey brought what Governor Abbott of Texas described as “a new and different normal for this entire region.” The agony of searching for victims and assessing damage has only just started, but we know that huge swaths of Houston are underwater. Our hearts are with those who are suffering in Texas and Louisiana, especially under-resourced communities who will bear the brunt of this nightmare.

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation―like Katrina’s and Sandy’s―is both unprecedented and a precursor of the new normal as our climate changes. Rising seas and storm surges will have similar impacts on coastal communities across the planet, including in our home community of Massachusetts, which contains extensive flood-prone areas of its own.

Hurricane Harvey is a horrifying reminder of how urgent climate action is, but the first order of business is to do all we can to support those who are most impacted by Harvey. Click here to support a progressive alliance providing aid to victims of Harvey, and here to support TEJAS, a Houston-area environmental justice organization providing aid to communities in oil-industry territory affected by the storm.

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