Time flies when you’re fighting for climate action. I truly cannot believe that this semester has already come to a close, but I am simultaneously blown away by how much our campus ambassadors were able to accomplish and how much our team has grown.
All in all, Defend Our Future was able to put on 80 events. That is just over one Defend event for every two days of the semester! These events ranged from Instagram Lives, to Defend What you Love partnerships, to rallies, to legislative visits.
As a reminder, we have Defend chapters on 14 college and university campuses in 11 states. This means Defend has spent the last 4 months fighting for meaningful & equitable climate action from coast to coast. While this fight is certainly not over, I do want to take a moment to flex on our semester highlights because there have been A LOT.
For those of you following our Instagram @defendourfuture, you had quite a few opportunities to learn, laugh, and share. Here are our top moments and posts of the semester:
- Euphoria memes! We started the semester strong with some timely climate memes created by our own Jessica Gomez.
- Lives, lives, lives! We put on 5 different Instagram lives for our followers this semester. Most excitingly, we launched our Ask the Expert series! This is where we tap into various experts in the environmental field to break down policy and issue areas ranging from electric vehicles to environmental justice and beyond.
- Going viral! We can’t forget our small moment in the sun – Defend’s Happy International Women’s Day reel! This was far and away our most popular post of the semester with 458 likes and over 26 THOUSAND views!
None of these moments would be possible without our Digital Marketing Manager Jessica, and she has plenty more fun posts for the summer months.
Top Legislative Connections
A critical function of Defend Our Future’s campus ambassador program is ensuring our ambassadors are comfortable and capable while speaking to their representatives. This semester, our campus ambassadors secured 23 meetings with senator, representative, and state offices. While we are proud of each and every one of these interactions, these two meetings were especially notable.
- Our University of North Carolina Greensboro team’s virtual meeting with Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06) on Earth Day gained us a Twitter shout out (we’ll let the typo pass).
- The University of Central Florida team, in partnership with another youth climate org, put on a virtual Town Hall with Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14)! This was an exciting opportunity for the UCF students to moderate a campus conversation with Rep. Castor. Students pressed her on the changes they want to see, and learned about the priorities she is working on. As a bonus, participants got to meet Rep. Castor’s cats!
With too many events to pick overall favorites – I asked the team to each pick their personal top event of the semester.
Our spring semester Ambassador Training back in January! Even though we had to make the last minute decision to do the training virtually, we still got to foster connections with the ambassadors and set them up for success throughout the semester. It’s amazing to watch this training get stronger and more effective every semester.
Richard Gallon (Organizing & Training Manager):
My favorite event was the Crafting Narratives: Storytelling in the Climate Movement training that the U of A campus ambassador and Alex did. Folks got excited to write LTEs and motivated people to take action.
Jessica (Digital Marketing Specialist):
My fave event of the semester was the Billie Eilish concert with Reverb! Our amazing campus ambassadors from Howard University, Taylor Campbell & Devonte King, did a wonderful job in having Billie fans learn about climate change and have them send a letter to President Biden to take more climate action for our communities! We made new friends, enjoyed good music, and most importantly, we made sure concert goers are aware that climate can’t wait and we need urgent support to create climate policies!
Alex (Regional Organizer):
My favorite event would have to be the ASU Climate March! As part of ASU’s Earth Day Celebrations ASU Ambassadors and volunteers led a successful march across campus that opened up dialogue directly with the President of the University, Michael Crow. The first of many conversations that will build directly on the effort of student leaders this year!
Nick (Regional Organizer):
My favorite event was the defend our art event that CSU campus ambassadors put on with the help of local artists! Also that Defend Our Oceans event sure was awesome!!
Mikaela (Senior Assistant):
Central College’s Bingo Night! Early in the semester it can be hard to put on a successful event, but these students pulled it off! DOF and partners from Our Climate put on an incredibly smooth bingo night with players taking action to fill their boards- including signing petitions and calling Senators to ask them to pass climate investments. The effortless combination of fun and activism was amazing!
With that, let the summer months begin! Summer 2022 will continue to be a growth period for Defend, and we look forward to coming back to our campus ambassador program in the fall with renewed vision and vigor. However, no active campus ambassadors does not mean we are going away! Here are two upcoming Defend events that we would love to see you at:
- Tabling at the DC Pride Festival! On June 12 you can catch us all day on Pennsylvania Avenue celebrating Pride Month and talking about how young people can get involved to defend what they love. You can sign up to table with us throughout the day here!
- Graduating campus ambassador Saiarchana Darira will be hosting one last Instagram live in June! She will be talking about eco-anxiety and how youth climate activists can manage their fears while fighting for a better future. Saiarchana will be joined by Halle Phillips from Bring Change to Mind.
That is all for now! We won’t have as many whirlwind roundups in the summer months, but we will still have plenty of information to share. Thanks for following along all semester.