Every semester I get a chance to witness something incredible. A handful of students from all around North America take a break from their traditional semester, and join the Greenpeace Organizing Term. This might not sound like an incredible feat to you, but to me, I see the future of the movement investing in their skills to learn how to make a bigger impact.
The Greenpeace Organizing Term is not just a chance for students to take a neat trip across country. This program is an important piece for us to grow a massive movement. Yes it’s important for us to have folks from every walk of life fighting in the streets for legislation, corporate accountability, and even our lives. What is so unique about the youth movement, and building up leadership in it, is not only will students continue to carry the torch long after I’m gone, but because the world we leave as adults, is the one their children are actually going to inherit.
Students who have just started learning about the problems are taking the leap and making time to learn how they can be apart of something bigger.
The GOT teaches students how to do everything from recruit fellow students into the movement, plan full campaigns, to actually doing the work in the field. We’re not necessarily looking for the students who have done this work for years (although we do have many experienced students join), we’re looking for any person 18-24 who wants to learn how to fight corporate power, ensure a greener future, and learn how to inspire others to take action.
Everyday I tell the story of a particular student I admire. I admit, I barely know Basil, seeing as he was in the GOT before I came to work with Greenpeace. I feel the effects of his hard work and dedication every day.
Basil was a student at UVM who was excited about learning more about how to effect environmental issues, he took the plunge and joined the GOT. Since his time with Greenpeace, he has been able to effectively build a massive movement on campus. He helped recruit tons of students to the largest convergence of youth for climate issues in history (at Powershift ’09), helped to build momentum to break his schools’ contract with Kimberly-Clark, and he was even one of the brave activists on Mt. Rushmore in our direct communication with the President.
Why Basil inspires me everyday, is not the impressive wins he’s had, but more that he’s been able to inspire years of students from his community to take the plunge with him. Each semester we have at least 1 student from his community join the program and become a leader. The work Basil and his group the “Forest Crimes Unit” has accomplished has inspired every one of these students.
That’s why it’s so important that you take a minute and talk to any student you know between the age of 18 to 24 to check out our program. Tell them about Basil and the amazing work he’s accomplished, tell them that this is their fight and that will continue long after me and you.
If you are a student, I hope that you take a minute to check out our site and apply to a program that will give you the necessary tools to build a movement in your community and the world.