By Mikaela Foehr September 21, 2022

Defend Our Future is proud to announce our Fall 2022 class of campus ambassadors! Excitingly, this class includes students on a new campus – George Washington University in DC. This means we now have  26 student leaders — across 15 college campuses in 11 states — working to advocate for a safer, clean energy future.

Campus Ambassador Training

For the first time since the inception of our program in January 2020 (a different lifetime!), we hosted our campus ambassador training in person here in DC! 18 of our campus ambassadors were able to attend the three day training, providing them the skills, confidence, and relationships to excel this semester – and beyond! They learned about the theory of grassroots organizing, how to center environmental justice in their work in their communities, how to recruit volunteers to build a movement of young people, plus so much more!

Highlights from the weekend include

  • Using the expertise of our returning ambassadors. New campus ambassadors had the chance to ask their veteran colleagues about their experiences in the role – what works, what is challenging, and why they keep coming back. Fittingly, the panel was moderated by former campus ambassador turned DOF Colorado field organizer Morgan Brown!
  • Thoughtful engagement during training sessions. Our Fall class of ambassadors were incredible throughout the three days of training – eager to answer questions and dig into the topics with their peers during breakout sessions. By the end of the weekend each campus had their own strategic plan for the semester based on DOF’s mission and tailored to the specific conditions on their campuses.
  • Building personal relationships across the program. Feeling connected to a community is incredibly important – especially when it comes to activism. Our campus ambassadors left the training with an entire network of like-minded college students across the country who they can collaborate with and lean on when times are tough.

Moving forward

While there are always learning opportunities, the DOF team could not be happier with how the weekend went. The conversations and ideas sparked by in-person interaction were far beyond what we have been able to achieve virtually. Being able to host future trainings in person will allow us to not only grow, but strengthen our program so we are looking forward to all the interactions to come. The campus ambassadors have been back to school just a couple weeks, but they’ve already hit the ground running – building the people power we need to continue winning climate solutions: University of Virginia

  • The UVA campus held a community day to commemorate the 5 year anniversary of the Charlottesville Tragedy. DOF Campus Ambassadors Liya Tadesse and Ephrata Yohannes were proud to participate – both as students and climate activists. Liya and Ephrata participated in tabling events where they spoke to their fellow students about the intersections between racial and environmental justice. They were heartened by both the interest shown and the thoughtful conversations they had with their peers.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

  • Our CSU team – Reaghan Fields and Rebekah Flannery – were able to mobilize their community to clean up a local river. Within the first month of the semester, Rebekah and Reaghan put together a cleanup that drew over 40 volunteers who worked to collect over 160 pounds of trash. This was shortly followed by their first in-person chapter meeting since before the pandemic. The entire CSU chapter shared their excitement on getting to finally organize and engage with their community in person.

Exciting News

IRA passage

Defend got the chance to celebrate the passage of the largest climate bill in history this past week – both outside the White House and with our climate partners in DC!

TikTok Release

Defend Our Future is officially on TikTok! You’ll catch us doing trends, dances, a day in the life, BTS of our events, and so much more. In our first TikTok you can meet our Fall 2022 Campus Ambassadors & listen to the Family House theme song – a total vibe! Make sure to click the follow button and stay tuned for all of our fun content coming up!

IRA Explainer live

Howard University Campus Ambassador Taylor Campbell teamed up with EDF Federal Affairs Project Manager Kendra Hughes to talk about the Inflation Reduction Act. Their conversation covered topics from how the Inflation Reduction Act will transform our communities, to how we can keep up the momentum.  Watch the recap here. Insights: 208 views, 424 accounts reached 

In closing

The start of a new school year is always exciting for Defend Our Future. The passion and commitment our campus ambassadors – new and returning – have already demonstrated for swiftly and equitably addressing the climate crisis exemplifies why it is so important for young people to have a seat at the table. We cannot wait for everything they will achieve this semester.   Warmest regards, Mikaela Foehr