Campus Leaders Program
Are you passionate about creating social change? Do you want to develop the skills to be an effective leader, communicator, and organizer, no matter what professional field you enter? Citizens' Climate Education is a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization that empowers citizens to build political will for climate solutions. We have over 450 chapters in the United States and over 90,000 members.
The Campus Leader Program is designed for students who want to start their own campaign or student group on climate change. With support from CCL staff and higher ed allies, campus leaders educate the community about climate solutions, build relationships with community leaders, and organize students in advocacy activities. Campus leaders commit at least five hours a week to their campaign and at least two academic semesters. In order to become a campus leader, you should have prior CCL or leadership experience. You'll also need to fill out an application form. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Benefits of Being a Campus Leader
Experience to put on your resume and Linkedin profile;
Training in leadership skills;
A foot in the door towards environmental or nonprofit careers;
A network of climate activist peers;
A letter of recommendation for future internships, jobs, graduate school, scholarships.
Requirements of Being a Campus Leader
Attend bi-weekly check-in calls with the Campus Leader coordinator.
Attend monthly Campus Leader calls.
Attend at least three CCL webinars.
Establish goals and create an action plan for your campaign.
Devote 5 hours a week to the campaign.
Start a website or Facebook page for your group.
Complete field reports of activities.
Why student groups?
Young people are powerful advocates for climate change. They understand the issue, they understand that it will impact them, and they feel motivated to do something about it. Every social issue that has succeeded did so because young people were actively involved. The best way to find young people and engage them is at their school through their peers. A student group allows young people to be engaged in advocacy with their peers in a structure that fits into their busy and transient lives.
How is a student group different from a regular CCL group?
Students have an academic schedule that breaks the year up into discrete semesters. Their day-to-day schedule also does not fit neatly between 9 and 5, or Monday to Friday. This means that a student group would operate differently from a local chapter. They might meet once a week rather than once a month. They might be active during the semesters but have recesses during finals, winter breaks, and summer break. They might be off for the entire summer. Their leadership might change each year, or even each semester. Their members may be from different states. The group might be dissolved once the leaders graduate. A student group does best when there are discrete goals, and non-student advisers to help it through gaps in leadership.
Should you start a student group?
The first question to ask yourself is does it make sense to start a group? If your school already has an environment club, would they be interested in working on carbon pricing? Is there enough interest to start a new group? An alternative to starting a student group is to do a campaign. A campaign is a discrete project that can be completed over one semester, and can be done by an individual as well as a group. A campaign might be to get the college president’s endorsement, or to host an Earth Day event. You do not need to start a student group to be a climate advocate on your campus.
Do you have the time? Organizing a climate campaign is a lot of work. Can you commit to five hours a week to helping the climate? How will this compliment your academic work and advance your professional goals? Can you get academic credit for it as an independent study? Do you have the personality to get other students interested in your cause, make presentations to community leaders and committees? Do you have the determination and persistence to keep going when success seems far off?
What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish as a campus leader? Obviously our goal at CCL is to build political will for carbon fee and dividend. The methods you pursue may vary depending on your interests and the needs of your community. Here are typical goals for a campus campaign:
Starting a campus chapter or group
Getting the President's endorsement
Getting students to participate in CCL's meetings, conferences, and lobby events
Build awareness about carbon pricing and rally support for a state or federal level policy
What is your strategy? Different goals require different strategies. If your goal is to obtain the President's endorsement, that might start with a meeting with the sustainability director to learn about the President's track record on climate change and endorsements. Check out the endorsements page for information. If your goal is to start a chapter, you might start by talking to the student activities coordinator and existing environmental groups.
What support is available for campus leaders?
CCL’s Campus Leaders Program supports students who want to start groups/campaigns at their school. The student leader gets access to campus leader training and planning materials, they have bi-weekly check-in calls with the program coordinator, and they attend monthly conference calls with other student leaders.
Group Leaders of local CCL chapters often provide an essential source of support for student leaders. They can help the student chapter with lobbying, media outreach, and provide on-the-ground support.
Student leaders can also find faculty or staff advisors at their school for their group/campaign. They may work with a faculty member to gain academic credit for their CCL work. They may also be able to get internship credit or volunteer service credit. Student groups also will have access to resources like university equipment, rooms, and funds.
What should you do if you are interested in starting a student group/campaign?
Get started by filling out the application form, or contact email@example.com if you have questions. Join our group on Facebook. Ideally, start planning a semester ahead of when you would start your campaign/group. Define your motivation, your goals, and your plan of action!
Check out the Campus Leaders Resources Folder for materials to help you start a campaign or a group.