For two and a half years, Defend Our Future has had to rely almost exclusively on our digital community to advocate for just and equitable climate solutions. But everything is changing this year.
With most college campuses back to full in-person capacity, our campus ambassadors are finding their peers have a renewed enthusiasm to get involved in climate activism.
Campus Community Engagement
Arizona State University hosted their first chapter meeting this past week. This was the first time the chapter was able to gather in person! Seven members showed up for an informative discussion on DOF priorities for the year led by Campus Ambassador Marissa Ruiz. By the end of the meeting one student even inquired how they could become a campus ambassador themselves.
The Central College team – Anne Gregory & Lauren Litterer – used a creative technique to get students excited. They brought people in the door with an interactive plant potting session! Students were able to decorate and plant their own succulents, all while hearing Anne & Lauren’s plans for the upcoming semester.
Finally, the teams at Ohio State and George Washington Universities are fostering community engagement in Defend Our Future by hosting clean ups. GWU cleaned out invasive species in Anacostia River Park and OSU picked up trash around their campus. Between them over 30 volunteers showed up! These engaging events were a great way to draw passionate, community-minded people in – so that we can explain how they can protect their homes even more by advocating for climate action.
Bringing young people face to face with federal, state, and local decision makers is a critical function of Defend. Our Colorado campuses have already secured a number of office visits this semester! Here are the offices our chapters have met with so far:
- Sen. Bennet’s office (CO)
- State Senator Hansen (31-CO)
- State Rep. Gonzalez-Gutierrez (4-CO)
Ephrata Yohannes, a returning campus ambassador from University of Virginia, reflected on what an office visit means to her.
“Office visits are a unique way to meet one-on-one with those who are responsible for making laws that affect you! Often, it’s hard to find a platform where you feel like your opinion has the ability to effect change. But with an office visit, you feel (and often are) working towards actionable progress!”
Outside of educating our communities on how to take climate action – we are also spreading the word on how to vote!
The 2022 midterm elections are just around the corner and while young people aged 18-35 are the largest voting-age population – they often face high barriers to voting. You can catch Defend tabling on each of our campuses helping students get registered to vote! Make sure you follow us on Instagram and TikTok, and subscribe to our email list to get the full range of our voter education materials.
Up and Coming
- It is Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month! DOF will be celebrating this Thursday (10/6) with an Instagram Live hosted by Campus Ambassadors Nicole Boisson (UCF) and Allyssa Wright (UNM). Nicole and Allyssa will be joined by Francisco Serrano from Green Latinos to have a conversation on what it means to be Latino/a/x in the environmental movement and how we can celebrate this month and year round!
- Letter to the Editor Training! Our campus ambassadors at University of New Mexico and University of Arizona are teaming up to teach their communities how to speak up on climate issues. Allyssa Wright and Logan Murphy will run this virtual LTE training on October 26 – stay tuned for more details!
Although this semester has already shown us there is no substitute for in-person interactions, Defend will keep using every tool (yes that includes TikTok!) at our disposal to connect our community. In person and online, the Defend team is dedicated to educating, activating, and expanding our membership to keep fighting for climate solutions.