You can’t do it alone. Creating social change takes a lot more than one person with some good arguments. We’re going up against one of the most entrenched industries in the world! That being said, we have a huge opportunity to be a catalyst for change by pushing our institutions to divest from companies driving the climate crisis.
Being a catalyst for change also means bringing other people along with you, so start looking and asking around: who else might be excited to throw down on a divestment campaign? Set up times to discuss divestment with friends, classmates, campus organizers, and professors.
Share about your plans on social media, and host a meeting for folks that might be excited about getting more involved. Remember to think outside the box about who to invite — a diversity of experiences makes for a strong campaign.
Relationships are the cornerstone of organizing, as well as the foundation of building a committed team. Luckily, the first step in building out a core group is easy — have a conversation!
How to build a core team using one-on-ones
When building a team, it’s okay to start small. Your team will grow as your campaign develops. Maybe you already have someone in mind that could help you start up a divestment campaign. Maybe there is someone consistently coming to meetings, and it’s time they join the organizing team.
A one-on-one conversation is a natural way to get to know someone better and understand their values, vision, life and motivations. Whether you’re building a team for the first time or building up an existing group, learning people’s motivations and sharing your own ensures that a.) you understand people more fully, and b.)campaign leaders can develop roles that best match their skills and interests.
Start by reflecting on the reasons you work on fossil fuel divestment.
What motivates you?
Why are you interested in starting a fossil fuel divestment campaign?
What experiences in your life have lead you to care about climate justice?
Next, make a list of people you think might be interested in working with you, and set up times to talk. Start your conversation by explaining why you wanted to talk and sharing a little more about your motivations. Use the same questions above to guide the conversation. Here are a few others you could use:
What does this person care most about? Why?
What do they spend their time doing?
What specific concerns or ideas does this person have?
What talents and abilities does this person have?
Are they interested in fossil fuel divestment and if so what about it is intriguing to them?
After your conversation, make sure to reflect and record the answers to the questions above.