STAFF & NETWORKS

DSN NATIONAL STAFF AND REGIONAL ORGANIZERS

Greta Neubauer is the Director of the Divestment Student Network. She grew up in Wisconsin and began her political work knocking on doors with her deeply democratic family. She organized for divestment at Middlebury College and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. These days she’s thinking the sacredness of Prospect Park and how great it is to live in the age of Teen Vogue getting political.

Varshini Prakash is the Senior Campaign Coach for the Divestment Student Network. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she led a successful campaign to divest from coal. She manages campaign coaches and coordinates our regional networks through convening a table of representatives from each region.

Victoria Fernandez is a Campaign Coach for the Divestment Student Network. A native Californian, she began organizing at UC Berkeley in the campus’ fossil fuel divestment campaign. She is committed to organizing because she believes that young people can make change together and push each other to be the leaders they always dreamed they would be. Victoria enjoys rock climbing, tearing up reading books, and spending time with loved ones.

Erin Bridges is a Campaign Coach and supports students primarily in the southeastern United States. She was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and a passion for agriculture and social justice sent Erin to the Blue Ridge Mountains for college where she received a B.S. in Ecology from UNC-Asheville. Erin’s work has focused mostly on food and climate justice and she fiercely believes in the power of organizing in the south. She enjoys making pancakes, beating old men in golf, identifying tree species, and drinking fine wine that she can’t afford.

Jong Lee is the Divestment Student Network’s Campaign Coach and Racial Justice Coordinator, and coordinates our People of Color Caucus. He is a graduate of James Madison University, where he helped lead the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.

Morissa Zuckerman is the Development Director for the Divestment Student Network. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, and has focused on religious-based activism and building a powerful student movement for climate justice. Morissa began organizing for divestment as a student at Pitzer College, where she helped lead a successful campaign in 2014. She coordinates grant and grassroots funding and supports the DSN’s communications and media development. She is passionate about photography, fried eggs, and Harry Potter.

Allyson Gross is the Communications Director for the Divestment Student Network. She was born and raised in Deer Park, TX, just outside of Houston, where she first became interested in climate issues after witnessing firsthand the effects of the fossil fuel industry in her hometown. Allyson began organizing for divestment at Bowdoin College in Maine, where she helped lead Bowdoin Climate Action from 2014-2016. You can find Allyson on Twitter at @AllysonGross, mostly tweeting about One Direction.

Stephen O’Hanlon is the Operations Manager for the Divestment Student Network. He attends Swarthmore College, where he helps lead a divestment campaign.

P.D. Gantert is the Southwest Regional Organizer, and a recent graduate from the University of Colorado. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, he was first inspired by the Keystone KL pipeline fight, and joined the youth climate movement through the divestment campaign at his university. P.D. dreams of a simple life in rural parts of the southwest, and is learning the banjo in preparation to for such a move, but he #Can’tStopWon’tStop and is putting off an early retirement for a life in movement building.

Cassidy Quillen is the Regional Organizer in North Carolina. She was born in Tallahassee, FL, and moved to the mountains of western NC when she was 11. As a child, she attended low-key anti-war protests in front of the Tallahassee capitol building after church. In Sylva, she focused her high school career on leading the marching band and being president of the ECO Club. Cassidy once believed that things like recycling would save the planet, but became much more radicalized as she began organizing for the fossil fuel divestment movement at Appalachian State University in 2014. People power! She enjoys playing old-time music on the fiddle, eating southern food, and skipping across the windy Boone mountains.

Silver Hannon is the California Regional Organizer for the Divestment Student Network. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and helped lead the divestment campaign as a student. She works with organizers on campuses across the University of California system to strategically escalate and build support for divestment.

TEAMS AND REGIONAL NETWORKS

Communications Team
Marli Diestel, San Francisco State University
Vignesh Ramachandran, Middlebury College
Kate Aronoff, Swarthmore College
William Lawrence, Swarthmore College
Michaela Steiner, Northern Arizona University
Sonny Lawrence Alea, SF State University
De’Andre Richardson, CU-Denver
Evans Schmedtje, Davidson College
Ben Wiley, Davidson College

Reinvestment Team
Sachie Hopkins-Hayakawa, Swarthmore College

Alexandra Barlowe, Yale University
Greta Neubauer, Middlebury College
Audrey Irvine-Broque, American University
Long Term Strategy Team

Sara Blazevic
Allyson Gross
Jess Grady Benson
Nicole Ektnitphong
Evans Schmedtje
Michaela Steiner

People of Color Caucus Core Team
Alexandra Barlowe, Yale University
Varshini Prakash, UMass-Amherst
Nicole Ektnitphong, Gustavus Adolphus College

Sonny Lawrence Alea, San Francisco State
Sachie Hopkins-Hayakawa, Swarthmore College
Zein Nakhoda, Swarthmore College
Southeast Regional Network
Ben Wiley, Davidson College
Natalie Sassine, University of North Florida
Doug Miller, Florida State University
Nikola Yager, University of North Carolina
Emma Collin, Tulane University
Helen Baillargeon, Florida Gulf Coast

Southwest Regional Network
PD Gantert, CU-Boulder
Michaela Steiner, Northern Arizona University
Coby Wiksellar, CU-Denver

Northwest Regional Network
Ben Ishibashi, Whitman College
Caitlin Piserchia, University of Montana
Jesse Pettibone, Oregon State University
Kaylynn Walls, Oregon State University
Salish Davis, Reed College
Elyse Cogburn, Portland State University
Bryce Bartl-Gellar, University of Washington
Morgan Sinclaire, University of Washington

Midwest Regional Network
Mikala Sebastian, UW-Oshkosh
Natalie Lirette, UW-Stevens Point
Leland Wright, Knox College

Lower New England Regional Network

Varshini Prakash, UMass-Amherst
Erin Sutton, Boston College
Phoebe Chatfield, Yale University
Jillian Brelsford, UMass-Boston
Simon Metcalf, Tufts University
Shana Gallagher, Tufts University
Abby Cunniff, Wesleyan University
Cameron Johnson, Brown University
Naima Drecker-Waxman, Harvard University
Saren McAllister, Brandeis University
 
Upper New England Regional Network
Caroline DeCunzo, University of Vermont
Melissa Moldovan, University of Vermont
Vignesh Ramachandran, Middlebury College
California Regional Network
Silver Hannon, UC-Berkeley
Yin Htin,  San Francisco State University
Morissa Zuckerman, Pitzer College
Jake Soiffer, UC-Berkeley
Emili Abdel-Ghany, UC-Davis
Alyssa Lee, UCLA

ABOUT

OUR MISSION:

The Divestment Student Network is building a powerful student movement for a just transition in the face of the climate crisis. We train, mentor, and coordinate students running nonviolent direct action campaigns for fossil fuel divestment and community reinvestment. Our organization is committed to racial and economic justice and supporting students to become lifelong organizers.


DIVESTMENT STUDENT NETWORK PRINCIPLES:

What we believe
1) Climate change is a real and serious threat to current and future generations. Impacts are already being felt in the U.S. and worldwide, and those who have contributed the least to this change are often the most affected by it.

2) The path to ecological sustainability requires a moral and material transformation in our relationships to land, labor and one another. Transitioning away from fossil fuels means transitioning towards justice.

3) The business model of the fossil fuel industry is inherently flawed. It is a pillar holding up a broken economy that extracts life rather than supporting it.

4) Serving the interests of the 1% is not in the mission of our universities, yet they are increasingly coming under corporate control and refusing to act in the interest of students.

Why we unite
5) We have a common stake in this fight. As young people, we will inherit the consequences of a poorly managed environment and economy.

6) Through deep personal relationships, we can challenge and support each other to grow personally and as leaders.

7) Unity increases our local, regional and global impact. Positive social change comes from people standing together, speaking up and taking action.

8) A united national organization provides support for us to continue our social change work beyond divestment. Our engagement will not end with graduation; we are in it for the long haul.

How we make change
9) We build relationships with fellow students, provide opportunities for leadership development, and collectively increase our power and commitment to social change.

10) We take nonviolent direct action to identify the fossil fuel industry as a bad actor and pressure our universities to divest.

11) We support student struggles including those targeting student debt, racial injustice and sexual assault. All of our struggles are bound together and often have the same root cause.

12) We are committed to building alliances with frontline communities, those most impacted by fossil fuel extraction and climate change, as they are the experts in resisting fossil fuels and building a better world.  Strong alliances help us win on divestment and build a broader and more powerful climate justice movement.

Nationwide Day of Action to Resist and Reject Trump’s Climate Denial

 

On Monday, January 23rd, the Divestment Student Network and 350.org are calling for nationwide student walkouts to resist and reject the climate denial of the newly-inaugurated Trump administration. There is no room for neutrality in the face of an administration that is threatening the very future of this planet.

Divestment leaders are organizing the biggest coordinated student action in our movement’s history. During Trump’s first 100 hours, thousands of students are walking out of class to hold emergency climate meetings, rallies outside our President’s offices, and more.

We are demanding that our universities stand with us and defend our futures by rejecting Trump’s denial, and providing the moral leadership we need by divesting from the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting in solutions that will fight the climate crisis.

 

Why?

  • Students are making it clear that we are going to fight Trump’s regressive climate agenda every step of the way. We will not stand by while Trump stacks his cabinet with climate deniers, white supremacists, and Wall Street bankers.

  • We are walking out of our classrooms because our universities can no longer continue to back the coal, oil, and natural gas companies who are celebrating Trump’s victory and committing the globe to extreme levels of warming and disaster. The era of Trump must be one of resistance and noncompliance.

  • One thing that gives us hope is that our movement knows how to use the tools of the people – collective power and bold direct action. From our five years of divestment campaigns to the resistance at Standing Rock, we’ve seen it work over and over again. Now more than ever, we must all join together to fight for our collective future.

  • This day of action is only the beginning. We’re laying out a strategy for a wave of continuous escalation throughout the Spring to #ResistRejectDenial every step of the way.

 

Are you with us?

 

Three next steps:

Bring your team on board.

We are taking action to demonstrate our resolve to fight Trump’s dangerous climate policies. Trump is assembling an administration that works solely for the interests for the 1%, including Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson and other fossil fuel tycoons. Combatting that means taking action more boldly than we ever have before, and you’ll need a team at your back. What conversations do you need to have to bring in other members of your campaign? Plan a call with your core group of leaders over break.

Name your goals.

Our generation will deal with the impacts of this presidency for the rest of our lives, and we need as many people as possible to organize alongside us. From day one we must gather with our community and strengthen our campaigns for the long haul. Campaigns are the vehicle to carry people-power forward, so we must take action with future building in mind. What do you need to get out of this action in order to further your campaign? How will you use this as an opportunity to recruit people into the fight for divestment and climate justice? How will you spread the word to media and through your own platforms?

Make your plan.

Though many schools are on Winter Break, early planning is key! Creating the outline of a recruitment plan, setting a few narrative points, and laying out buckets of work shouldn’t wait [i.e. someone create a facebook event]. What will your action look like? When and where will it be? Are there other campus leaders who need to know about it sooner rather than later? How are you going to recruit all the new people not currently active in your campaign who want to mobilize against hate and denial? [i.e. class raps, dorms storms, etc]

 

An action toolkit with more fleshed out talking points, a media toolkit, and details on how to plan for this day of action is coming soon!

 

AN UPDATE ON OUR WORK

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:

  • 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,

Greta

INVEST IN THE FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT MOVEMENT!

$3,355.00Donated
Goal: $6,000.00

DONATE TO THE DSN TO HELP CAMPAIGNS TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

▼ Donate now! ▼

We’ve petitioned. We’ve met with our administrators. We’ve demonstrated our power through rallies and marches. Last spring we experienced a wave of actions in divestment campaigns across the country — from sit-ins to teach-ins, from blockades to breakfast actions — in which students asked their administrators and the public: whose side are you on? Our actions forced people to make a choice: to side with the perpetrators of the climate crisis and injustice, or with the students, faculty, and alumni they claim to support.

This spring, we are taking our campaigns, and our movement, to the next level by calling out the conflicts of interest that are present on our school’s Boards. Just as the fossil fuel industry has held back meaningful climate action at the highest levels of our government, personal ties to the fossil fuel industry are holding back our colleges and universities from taking the powerful action needed for us to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. That’s why, this April, students from across the country will be taking action to demand that institutions of higher learning stand on the right side of history and choose our futures over their ties to this destructive and outdated industry. We are drawing a line in the sand and demanding that administrators lead with us by standing against the fossil fuel interests that have clouded their judgment for so long, and with the students and communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

We are proving that Youth > Fossil Fuels. Lead with us. Invest in the fossil fuel divestment movement.

#WhoseSide #LeadWithUs

Prefer to send us a check?

TOOLKIT FOR REINVESTMENT CAMPAIGNS

Drawing by: Maya Lin-Bronner (Columbia University)

This toolkit aims to provide information to students interested or involved in reinvestment work with the Divestment Student Network. It contains information about the history of the project, structure and goals of reinvestment, as well as resources that will enable students to build power and run successful campaigns.

View the toolkit below, or download it here.

ARE YOU IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL? TAKE THE ORGANIZING PLEDGE.

WHO WE ARE:

We are building a movement to dismantle the power of the fossil fuel industry, halt climate crisis, and fuel a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable economy that extends beyond the boundaries of the college campus. The crises we face demand that we win campaigns for divestment on campus, and continue to build power long term. While our targets expect our movement to lose momentum as student organizers graduate, through the Long Haul Initiative (LHI), we’re proving them wrong.

The Long Haul Initiative is a program of the Divestment Student Network dedicated to cultivating collective commitment to long haul organizing throughout our network, and enabling the ongoing engagement of our leaders after they leave school.  We recognize that organizing after college is not a conventional, or easy decision to make. We are developing a variety of projects to break down the barriers restricting folks from organizing post-college, supporting leaders to develop the skills to continue movement work, leveraging alumni power to strengthen student campaigns, and building bridges to off-campus climate justice work.

Rather than diminishing in power as student organizers graduate, our movement is growing exponentially stronger as student leaders become movement organizers for the long-haul.

Want to join the LHI? Fill out the form below or contact us at longhaulinitiative@gmail.com.  

Check out our Principles for more insight into what we believe and how we organize.

 

CURRENT PROJECTS: 

1) SOLIDARITY HOUSING

Resourcing our work is one of the greatest challenges of organizing.  Solidarity Housing is connecting DSN organizers with movement supporters who can offer free or low-cost housing to break down some of the financial barriers our organizers experience post-college.  We are developing networks of potential hosts across the country and brainstorming possibilities for other forms of low-cost movement housing. Contact Lina Blount at lblount1@gmail.com to join the Solidarity Housing team.

2) CAMPUS CAMPAIGN SUPPORT 

As the movement for fossil fuel divestment grows across the country, more and more campaigns need support developing organizing skills and building effective strategy.  The Long Haul Initiative is working with leaders in the DSN Regional Networks, 350.org and Responsible Endowments Coalition staff to support alumni to become coaches for campus campaigns and connect them to campaigns in need of support. If you are an alum who’s interested in doing campaign coaching, contact Michaela at ms2932@nau.edu.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

We invite all post-college folks and current students who have been involved in student divestment organizing to join the LHI. Fill out the form below to stay in the loop through our email list! Please contact us with any questions at longhaulinitiative@gmail.com.

 

ESCALATION PLEDGE

We’ve petitioned. We’ve met with our leaders. We’ve demonstrated our power through rallies and marches. This spring, we are taking the next step to ask our administrators, “Whose Side Are You On?”
Will they side with the fossil fuel industry that drives climate change and injustice, or with the students who envision a better world, and have the courage to build it? There is no middle ground.
Hundreds of students nationwide have pledged this spring to take nonviolent direct action–risking arrest if need be–to thrust their campaigns to victory. Some will occupy administrative buildings, some will stage blockades and sit-ins, some will drop banners, but all will disrupt the unconscionable status quo of inaction. Every administrator and observer will have a choice. Whose side are they on? The world, and history, will be watching.
SIGN THE PLEDGE to join with students around the country in escalated action this spring, and take a look at this Divestment Escalation Toolkit for action and messaging inspiration.

TRAINING AND RESOURCES

TRAINING  

Request a Training HERE. 

Are you planning a training or convergence? Do you have questions about trainings? Contact Jess, our Director of Training at jgradybenson@gmail.com. 

 

RESOURCES 

Divestment 101

Divestment 101, by Swarthmore Mountain Justice

A campus guide to Fossil Fuel Divestment, 350.org

Campaign Strategy and Planning

Beautiful Trouble, A Toolbox for Revolution, 100+ authors write short articles on running campaigns

Organizing Cools the Planet, by Joshua Kahn Russell & Hilary Moore

An Action How-To Guide, The Ruckus Society

Group Facilitation

Organizational Culture: The How-to’s of Starting a Group off on the “Right Page,” by Sally Bunner

Training and Facilitation Tools, by Training for Change

Training Exercises for Campaign Groups, by School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL)

Climate Leadership Workshops Toolkit, by 350.org

Organizer’s Toolkit, by New Organizing Institute

Building the Wheel, by Build the Wheel

Frontline Solidarity

The Solidarity Organizing Toolkit, by the Frontline Solidarity working group of the Divestment Student Network

Anti-Oppression & Collective Liberation

Towards Collective Liberation, By Chris Crass

Catalyst Project

Anti-Oppression and Allyship: A Resource Guide for Self-Education

Financial Studies Supporting and/or Related to Divestment
[An even larger set of resources can also be found at http://gofossilfree.org/resources/]

The Financial Case for Divestment of Fossil Fuel Companies by Endowment Fiduciaries, by Bevis Longstreth (Former SEC Commissioner)

Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets?, University of Oxford

Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets, by Carbon Tracker Initiative

Do the Investment Math: Building a Carbon-Free Portfolio, by Aperio Group

Reinvestment

Reinvestment 101 by Responsible Endowments Coalition

Social Media

The Most Amazing Online Organizing Guide Ever, by Green Memes

Traditional Media

How to get traditional media to cover your event by Better Future Project

Fundraising

Grassroots Fundraising Resources, Divestment Student Network

Collections of Resources compiled by Organizers

Resources for Organizer’s and Activists, by Joshua Kahn Russell

Organizing for Power Resources Page