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 100,000 members.
The purpose of the Campus Leader Program is to empower students to become effective climate advocates and organizers in their communities. With support from CCL staff and higher ed allies, Campus Leaders learn climate advocacy skills, educate others about climate solutions, lead a group, and build political will for carbon pricing.
Students in the program join one of two tracks: The regular track for students who are new to CCL and the accelerated track for those who have experience with CCL. Students in the regular track spend a semester learning about CCL, advocacy methods, and organizing. Students who do the regular track can apply for one credit from their school for completing the program. They are automatically enrolled in the accelerated track following successful completion of the program.
Students who have been involved with CCL for six months or longer and have prior climate advocacy training can enroll in the accelerated track. These students plan and execute a climate campaign and organize a student group or CCL chapter.
In order to become a Campus Leader, you should have prior leadership experience. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and an interview is required.
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
Please see this document for program description and expectations.
Why student groups?
Young people are powerful advocates for climate change. They understand the issue, they know that it will impact them, and they feel motivated to do something about it. Every social issue that has succeeded in the past did so because young people were actively involved. 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 break, and summer break. 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. But starting a student group would make sense if there are no group doing what you want to do and you want to engage more students in doing ambitious goals.
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 their mentor, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Checklist for New Campus Leaders
Join officially at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/join-citizens-climate-lobby/
Sign up for Core Volunteer Training.
Reach out to your local CCL chapter leader, and attend their monthly meetings.
Join our Facebook Group.