Sierra Student Coalition
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Washington, D.C., United States
|Focus||Environmentalism, Global Warming, Renewable Energy|
|Method||Direct action, lobbying, petition, demonstration|
|Karissa Gerhke, National Director|
The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) is the national student chapter of the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization. Founded by Adam Werbach in 1991, it now has about 14,000 members and is almost entirely student-led.
The Sierra Student Coalition is directed by a paid National Director.
The SSC is governed by a seven-member volunteer Executive Committee (Ex-Com). The Ex-Com sets the national campaign priorities of the SSC and is responsible for allocating the annual budget, prioritizing national campaigns, and serving the volunteer membership and Chapter structure of the SSC. Every ExCom member also serves on a subcommittee, the venues where the rest of the SSC’s national activities are organized.
The current SSC Ex-Com, for 2015-2016, consists of Caroline Engle, Courtney Pal, Mitchelle De Leon, Gabby Benavente, Maria Langholz, Drew O'Bryan, and Jacqueline Yap.
The other major committees include:
The Campaign Committee (CampCom). Camp-Com is responsible for planning and developing the SSC’s national campaign priorities, including development of relevant campaign resources in coordination with SSC staff. The SSC’s current priority campaign is “Campuses Beyond Coal”. The campaign is designed to be run on college campuses or in local communities.
The Trainings Committee. Trainings-Com teaches the skills that the SSC’s member activists use to organize. In coordination with the SSC Trainings Director, the Trainings-Com is responsible for conducting Summer Environmental Training Programs (SPROG) during the summer. They also run workshops at regional and national conferences and train students who want to become trainers themselves.
The Anti-Oppression Committee (AO Com). AO Com works to establish Anti- Oppression as an integral part of the SSC in order to encourage diversity, inclusivity, and the open exchange of ideas. In addition, AO Com also creates an open and safe space for the SSC through the implementation of AO curriculum in SSC gatherings, including SPROG. AO Com adamantly creates and/or adjusts any projects, policies, or initiatives to integrate AO principles within the SSC at both a grassroots and national level. Collaboration and input from all SSCers between all committees is used to accomplish these goals.
The lifeblood of the SSC is a nationwide network of Campus and Community Organizers. These organizers are the students who win the victories that advance the SSC and the student environmental movement.
Campus Organizers organize SSC groups that run local campaigns on their high school or college campus. These local campaigns are usually consistent with SSC priority issue focus at the national and state-level.
Community Organizers bring together existing SSC campus groups and group leaders and/or recruiting non-SSC groups to the SSC that are within a close geographic proximity. These groups pursue a local campaign that is usually consistent with the SSC’s national issue focus. A community organizer position only becomes available once there are at least two functioning and registered SSC campus groups within a community to organize and coordinate. Community Organizers often utilize Sierra Club as a recruitment partner.
A Chapter Organizing Team (or State ExCom) is formed when there are multiple campus groups or community campaigns that work together on a statewide campaign. The Chapter Organizing Team is a collection of the Community Organizers throughout a state. They mentor Campus Organizers and planning state trainings or conferences.
Priority Campaign: The Campus Climate Challenge
The Campus Climate Challenge is a project of more than 30 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Sierra Student Coalition. The Challenge leverages the power of young people to organize on college campuses and high schools across Canada and the U.S. to win 100% clean energy policies at their schools. The goal of the Challenge is to grow a generation-wide movement to stop global warming, by reducing carbon emissions from their high schools and colleges down to zero, and leading society to a clean energy future.
During the summer of 2007 the Sierra Student Coalition worked in partnership with the Sierra Club and the US Steelworks Union, in New Hampshire and Iowa to reach out to citizens to call for action to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and to create 2 million new jobs in a clean energy economy. With the ReEnergizeUS campaign, the SSC held two major five-day marches of hundreds of people which culminated at rallies in Des Moines and Concord.
Summer Environmental Leader Training Program (SPROG)
SPROG is a week-long youth leadership and grassroots training program. High school and college students learn the essentials of grassroots advocacy, build community, and learn the skills to be a force for change. SPROGs are held in several locations throughout the United States each summer. Six programs take place every summer, and SPROGs are regularly held in the Southwest, Southeast, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, Northwest regions, and in Puerto Rico.
- Education in the United States
- Environment of the United States
- Environmental groups and resources serving K–12 schools