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.

On the day of the training, the fellows arrived at Boston University to prepare. Renee Nichols (Boston College ‘21), Xochitl Tapia (College of the Holy Cross ‘21), and Gracie Jackson (Clark University ‘20) opened up the space and led the introductions. The first workshop was on Climate Change, Climate Justice and the Climate Movement. Aviva Kardener (Tufts University ‘18) and Bolaji Olagbegi (Boston University ‘20) discussed the need to center marginalized communities in divestment and other fights on climate change. The attendees broke out into groups to discuss the different ways in which the impacts of climate change are currently being felt around the world.

Next was an introduction to Campaign Strategy, led by Thomas Bunnell (College of the Holy Cross ‘20) and Sankari Nadanapathan (Boston College ‘21). They discussed the definition of a campaign, using the divestment campaign at UMass Amherst as an example. Thomas also showed how his divestment campaign Holy Cross Fossil Free did a power analysis of their support on campus using a framework called the Spectrum of Support.

Fellow Sankari Nadanapathan discusses the six components of a campaign.
Fellow Sankari Nadanapathan discusses the six components of a campaign.

We then broke for lunch served by Fresh Food Generation, a Dorchester-based farm-to-plate food truck and catering company. During lunch, Claire Halloran (MIT ‘21), Celia Bottger (Tufts University ‘20), and Stephanie Eggers (Boston University ‘20) led breakout sessions on various campus climate campaigns: carbon pricing, fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment, and 100% renewable energy.

After lunch, we went deeper into Campaign Strategy with a session led by Laddy DeLuca Lowell (Clark University ‘20) and Celia Bottger. They went over specific tools to use for effective campaign organizing, such as designating SMART goals and relational organizing. To close out all these workshops, participants broke out into their campus groups to reflect on their learnings and to commit to next steps, facilitated by Tamar Moss (Brandeis University ‘21). Everyone then shared their next steps and even posted them in the Facebook Event as a way to stay accountable!

Fellows Laddy DeLuca Lowell (left) and Celia Bottger (right) demonstrate the importance of relational organizing by roleplaying a one-to-one conversation.
Fellows Laddy DeLuca Lowell (left) and Celia Bottger (right) demonstrate the importance of relational organizing by roleplaying a one-to-one conversation.

The day was brought to a close with Renata Leighton (Brandeis University ‘21) and Claire Halloran with a “Climate Hokey Pokey” and by Alyssa Lee, the BFP Campus Programs Manager, who shared her story of being a student organizer and the enormous impact of student organizing.

Participants join in on a twist on the Hokey Pokey - put your right hand in if you learned something new about climate change!
Participants join in on a twist on the Hokey Pokey - put your right hand in if you learned something new about climate change!  

Together, we had a brilliant day of learning about climate justice and campaign organizing, and sharing our progress and goals with each other. Better Future Project is proud to facilitate a space where emerging youth climate leaders can join together and get trained and inspired!

All photos were taken by James Garijo-Garde, BFP Climate Organizing Fellow and second-year student at Tufts.


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