May 2: #FossilFreedom Day of Action

We’re taking action for divestment! For media inquiries, click here.

Updates from the Day of Action



Check the map for a day of action being organized on your campus. If your school is not listed, you can add them using the form below. Need help planning your action? Check out our menu of tactics, media guide, tips on producing great visuals, and more.

Add your action to the map

Planning an action on your campus but don’t see it on the map? We just need a little info from you to get it up there. Click here to register your action.

If you’re planning an event but aren’t sure about all the details yet, feel free to register it now. You can update your event info later by emailing us at divest@gofossilfree.org.

If you’re planning an action, but it doesn’t fall exactly on May 2nd, put it on the map anyway — we’ll use May 2nd to highlight all the great actions happening around the country as part of the final end-of-year push.

Menu of Action Ideas

Campaigns have a life cycle, and successful campaigns use the arc of that cycle to deliver wins. Depending on what stage of organizing your group is in, you’ll want to choose an action that fits with what you’ve done already and where you need to go next.

Hosting a speaking/movie event on campus:
Hosting an event on your campus is a fantastic way to build broader support, engage newly interested folks, and push the dialogue around divestment on campus further. If you’re interested in screening a film, there are many great options, including a few of our favorites which we highly recommend:

  • Do The Math
  • The Island President
  • Gasland
  • Coal Country

Film screenings, in some cases, require contacting the film maker to gain the screening rights to the film, but you can check with your school to find out what their policy is to start that process.

Another great event to host on campus is to invite speakers to a panel, debate, or q&a session. Speakers can be local activists and organizers, divestment or climate experts, professors that support your group, or high profile spokespeople that can get students on campus fired up.

Social media blitz:
A social media blitz is a great tactic to publicly pressure your administration and show widespread support for your campaign. By asking folks to tweet, or retweet canned tweets at administrators,or with certain hashtags, you can launch a twitter-storm on your campus and get the word out to a new audience. Facebook is also a great tool for showing public support, and asking students to bombard your adminsitration or universities facebook page with comments urging them to divest can be a good way to ‘put them on the spot’.

Petition or Letter Deliveries:
Petition deliveries are a great way to show the support of all of the students on your campus. This can happen at various points of your campaign. Sometimes folks start off their campaign by delivering petitions of support to their decision maker as a way of leveraging their ask. Often times, folks will deliver a letter requesting the decision maker to make the right call, and then use petitions as a sign of the growing resistance once they’ve said no.

Either way, these can be done very simply. When doing a petition delivery, often you’ll want to make sure there is documentation. You’ll also want to show the across the board support in a physical way. In the past, folks have used things like wheel barrows to carry in all of the petitions, dozens of boxes to carry all of the petitions, created windmills with petitions attached, and other very creative ways of showing the size of the resistance.

There is almost no concern of a petition delivery becoming a legal issue. The tactic alone is to show simply the growing support of your campaign and not to be used for escalation.

Climate Impact Demos:
A Climate Impact Demonstration can be an effective and creative way of showing what is at stake on your campus and in your community. At times this can be tricky, only because we want to, as always, speak from our own experience, and not tell the stories of others unless we are granted that permission.

Ideas that you can use for this type of tactic are showing where sea levels will be raised in your area, what are the health impacts of local fossil fuel infrastructure (some way of showing asthma/cancer/etc rates), or if you live in an area that has had a recent oil spill or gas accident, having folks effected come and speak about their experience.

This can take many different forms, it can be a piece of street theater, it can be a rally, or it can just be an informative area on the front lawn or another high traffic area of campus.

Legally, with the right permits/permission, you should be able to do this on campus without any problems. If you want to take the space without permission, you should contact someone with experience or your local 350 field organizer to find out what sort of implications you may have.

Street theater:
Street theater is a great way to catch the attention of an un-expecting audience. By staging an impromptu performance in a public place, your group can share a story or idea in a creative way and build public interest and visibility. Street theater skits can be used to enact meetings with administrators, to visualize fossil fuels on campus in endowments, and to share the story of your groups campaign, and often times are a fun opportunity to get creative with costumes, or puppets.

Art builds:
Art builds are a great way to provide fun and flashy visuals for elements of an issue or campaign that you’d like to make more prominent in public. For example, art builds can be any kind of installation art, posters, or banners that can be placed publicly to catch the attention of passers by. Installation art can be made from lots of different materials, including paper mache, chicken wire, etc.

Walkouts:
This is a tactic that should happen after many other tactics have been exhausted to get the attention of your administration. A walk-out can look differently depending on your target, where your campaign is at, and support on your campus. Generally, a walk out can be a coordinated action between a large swath of students, professors, and leadership on the campus. Folks should coordinate what day and time the walk out will take place, and all leave their classes, or offices, at the same time to meet at a designated location. In some cases there is a rally or a march that is coordinated as soon as folks walk out. This tactic will show that students are unwilling to continue their classes for the day until the University leadership speaks to them, or, are willing to bend to the student’s demands. If you do have professors on your side, having them write to leadership on campus about why they chose to cancel their classes that day is incredibly important. Some students in the past have also written public letters on behalf of the group walking out. If you only have a small group of students engaged on this issue and no professor support, this might not be the tactic to use, since the goal is to show a large swell of support.

Banner Drops:
This is a tactic that can be used in many different levels of your campaign. Some folks use banner drops as a method for educating, some use it to name and shame targets, and some use it as a tactic to up the ante and disrupt business as usual. Depending on where your campaign is this can be an incredibly effective tactic if you want to get media or mass awareness on your campus. In order to do this, you need to think through why you’re dropping a banner. Do you want to interrupt a speech? Do you just want to get the word out? Do you want to directly communicate with the decision makers?

Depending on how you use this tactic the legal implications can vary. If you are planning a technical banner hang that you refuse to leave until the police are called, you may face a myriad of charges that can range from refusing to obey a police order to trespassing. Every situation is different, so it’s incredibly important for you to reach out to someone with experience organizing these actions for advice and reaching out to local legal support.

For banner hangs that are for direct communication, people have just hung simple messages out of their windows that were on a route that they knew decision makers would be near.

Teach-ins:
Teach-ins are a type of sit. Instead of a sit in that is literally just occupying the space, a teach-in turns holding that space into a community learning opportunity.

When deciding to use a teach-in as a tactic, you’ll want to make sure that your campaign is absolutely ready to escalate in this way. This is an aggressive tactic that without due diligence, you could potentially harm your relationship with the decision maker. To use this tactic, you’ll want to be in a position that without showing this sort of muscle, you would not be able to reach your goals. If your decision maker has refused your requests to meet, if they’ve flat out said no, and/or you want to publicly show that they’ve refused what students have asked for, this is a great tactic to use.

During a teach-in, you can use the space to teach any sort of thing. In the past, folks have used the space to teach basic organizing skills on the issue they’re protesting. Folks have used the space as an art build, to make props and other art that will be used for future protests. You can decide what’s best for the folks who are sitting in with you, and what the community might want to need. The space can also continue to be open to other folks, while only a few risk arrest and sit in.

Similar to banner hangs, the legal implications of this tactic can really vary. This is something you’ll want to really consider before planning the actions.

Media, Outreach, & Visuals

A Day of Action is a good opportunity to grow your group, as well as a chance to energize people that are already in your circle.If you’re running a petition on GoFossilFree.org, use your petition dashboard to contact signers as soon as you’ve decided on your action basics. Make a Facebook event (or some other way for people to commit to be there). Ask everyone in your circle to join the event, and then ask them to share it. If there are specific tasks that need doing — photography, art builds, social media content — use that as an opportunity to create buy-in by spreading responsibility.Are there other groups on campus that might want to collaborate on the action? Reaching out beyond your friends takes a little more legwork, but it’s worth it.As May 2nd approaches, don’t forget to send out updates and reminders! The week before your action, build buzz on campus with posters, flyers, and op-eds. Check out the resources page for graphics and templates.

This is what makes your action part of a movement, rather than a stand-alone event. Together, we amplify each other’s actions and grow our collective power.Take a photo of your action in progress. In fact, take lots! Try to designate one person in the group as your “official” photographer. Make sure you get as many people in the shot as possible, and consider holding up signs that say #FossilFreedom. An orange square pinned to everyone’s chest (orange squares for all!) will help tie all the actions together visually as well. Check out our guide on how to take a good photo here.See below for instructions on how to submit your photos to the Flickr set.If you can, bring along a video camera and get some footage of people at the action. As with photography, a big part of putting together a quality video is making sure you have enough quantity. Take lots of footage: set-up and prep, candid shots of people interacting, interviews, and lots of high energy chanting, singing, etc. See below for instructions on how to submit your video footage (it can be really rough) for use in the final wrap-up video.

If your event is going to be big or unique, try to reach out to local media outlets to see if they’d be interested in covering it. It’s really not as scary as it sounds!If you’ve got a compelling event idea, then wrangling the media is mostly just about building good relationships and doing lots of follow-up. Check out our detailed media wrangling guide here.And don’t forget: sometimes the best media is the media you make yourself. Photos, video, written manifestos — exposure is just a few clicks away. Share it!


Report Back!


After your action wraps up, it’s time to connect up with the rest of the movement and tell your story.

You can submit photos quickly and easily by email! Just follow these instructions:

  • Add your photos as attachments, making sure not to exceed individual photo size of 3MB.
  • Submit only one photo per email.
  • Use you intended caption as the subject — e.g. “Divestment Day of Action, Brown University, May 2nd 2013.”
  • The body of your email will be the description for your photos. Include a compelling one-sentence description of your event and what is happening in the photo.
  • Include any photographer credits in the e-mail body/caption.
  • Send your email to photos[at]350.org.
We’ll make a wrap-up video using footage from the day of action — make sure your event is part of it!To submit your video, send it to divest@gofossilfree.org. Big file? We recommend Jumpshare or Dropbox for sending large files. Put #videosubmission in the subject line, so that we can search for and find it easily.

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