My name is Greta Neubauer and I am the new director at the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network. I’ve been organizing with the DSN since our first meeting, at the 2013 Power Up! Convergence at Swarthmore College. I am deeply humbled to be in this position, and grateful to have the opportunity to continue being part of and building this incredible movement.
I would like to share an update about what we’ve been up to over the past year and where we’re headed. We’ve just completed our first year with paid staff, during which we:
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Trained and supported dozens of leaders to run campus divestment campaigns, which included a spring escalation of 25 actions and a number of notable victories, including the University of Massachusetts system
Brought students together at trainings, conferences, and demonstrations to build towards shared campaigning with leaders in the movements for racial, social, and economic justice
Began supporting 6 campaigns to integrate reinvestment into their divestment campaigns
Our movement has won incredible victories in the past few years. We’ve changed the story about the role of the fossil fuel industry in our society and trained a generation of organizers. Divestment is now politically feasible for an ever-growing number of institutions.
We believe the Paris Climate Agreement signifies that the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close, but know that the battle is far from over. We are not content with letting the energy of the divestment movement dissipate – we are determined to channel it into the next phase of our work.
We are close to completing our 3 year strategy planning process and have aligned around the core challenge we exist to solve, our purpose and the way we believe we’ll get there. We understand this moment to be a critical one, in which the path to the next economy will be determined. We know if we don’t contest, this transition will not be rooted in justice. We enter into the new school year with an incredible staff that will support campuses across the country to run strategic divestment and reinvestment campaigns to build popular support for a just transition and move money into community-owned solutions to the climate crisis.
DSN staff and Long Term Strategy team at our July meeting
We’ve been able to reach this place because of the absolutely incalculable amount of labor that many, many people have poured into this organization over the past three years. We have a lot of people to thank, from the first cohort that sat on the floor at Swarthmore and schemed, to the leaders of each iteration of this organization and each campus campaign, to the funders who have given generously to allow us to solidify the DSN as a strong and growing organization, to the movement mentors who have supported and nudged us through strategic and less strategic moments. We are so grateful to Yotam Marom and the Wildfire Project for the love and tremendous support in developing our long term strategy. We want to thank 350.org and the Responsible Endowments Coalition for supporting us to grow up alongside you over the past few years. We also want to thank Will Lawrence and Jason Schwartz, who were part of our staff this past year and are now moving on to other movement work. We know that we stand on all of your shoulders, and we are grateful for such shoulders to stand on.
We enter this academic year with a deep understanding of the potential of this moment. We are training leaders, we’re building a movement. We are and will continue to make things better.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
To a year of beautiful action,