Let’s go to CAMP! CCL’s Climate Advocacy Methods Program

Let’s go to CAMP! CCL’s Climate Advocacy Methods Program

By Elise Koepke

The arrival of Covid-19 disrupted nearly everyone’s summer schedules for classes, work, and travel. CCL Student Engagement Director Clara Fang saw the disruptions as an opportunity to channel those new at-home hours into something productive: a climate CAMP. Instead of canoes and bonfires, this CAMP stands for Climate Advocacy Methods Program—it’s a virtual training program for climate advocates. 

Kicking off at CCL’s June 2020 conference, Clara conducted CCL’s first 15-week CAMP. With no prerequisites or costs, the training welcomed anyone with interest in climate advocacy to learn CCL’s methods and take action on climate change.

New friends and activities at CAMP

The first CAMP was met with an incredible initial response. Hundreds of people of different ages and backgrounds, most of whom were completely new to CCL, signed up to participate. More than 42 percent of registrants identified themselves as non-white, Clara reports, and a full 93 percent were students.

Each of the 15 weeks featured an introduction to a new climate advocacy method, allowing newcomers to get a taste for lobbying or more experienced CCLers to hone their skills. 

Throughout the program, participants:

  1. Attended CCL’s virtual 2020 International Conference
  2. Participated in at least nine of CCL’s Core Volunteer Trainings and shared their thoughts and experiences in the program’s discussion forum
  3. Worked with local chapters to explore virtual lobbying options
  4. Had a call with a regional fellow or the student engagement coordinator to discuss progress and further involvement
  5. Wrote a letter to the editor or op-ed for a local media outlet, several of which were published. Some samples of their writing are available on the CCL Higher Ed blog.

After a successful first iteration, the program returned in August to welcome a fall cohort, who will attend CCL’s Virtual United We Move Conference in December. At the end of the fall semester, the Climate Advocacy Methods Program will reopen for a spring iteration. Each cycle’s curriculum is updated to fit the climate needs of the moment through CCL’s Tuesday night Core Volunteer Training series, so even experienced CCLers can learn timely approaches to bring about meaningful change.

Boost your resume and make connections

If you’re a student on the lookout for unique resume additions and professional connections, this course could be a great fit for you. “This was such an immersive and informative experience that has allowed me to take real action within my community,” said Emma Kraus, from Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California. “Because of CCL’s inspiring training, I have been able to get an environmentally focused internship with my county’s Board of Supervisors, as well as work with my local chapter.

In addition to an arsenal of lobbying tactics and polished communication skills, participants who successfully complete the program are awarded a Certificate of Completion—a nice boost to any young person’s resume. Students enrolled at an institute of higher learning will also receive an invitation to join CCL’s Campus Leaders Program, where they can begin a climate campaign or start a CCL chapter at their university. 

Flexible with your full-time obligations

Since the training content is one hour per week, it’s feasible to balance this program with the rest of your schedule. “I was able to do the training while simultaneously taking summer classes, and found it to be very manageable,” said summer participant Abbey Serio.

Even if you’re past your college days and into a full-time career, these trainings can work for you too. The curriculum draws from CCL’s Core Volunteer Trainings, which you’ll watch and then discuss in a dedicated forum for your group (like this one for the summer CAMP participants.) This interactive platform allows you to share and learn with CCLers around the world. Over the course of the program, you’ll connect with like-minded climate advocates as well as professionals and regional coordinators hosting the Core Volunteer Training.

The program also offers opportunities to engage with weekly speakers who help each topic come to life. “I really enjoyed listening to and engaging with the various different speakers every Tuesday evening,” said Reshu Chandra. 

Interested in getting involved?

“This program as a whole helped me become a better climate activist,” said Jose Lozano, who completed the program in August. If it sounds like a fit for you, consider joining the next 15-week CAMP.

You can sign up for the Spring CCL Climate Advocacy Methods Program at citizensclimatehighered.org/training. The deadline to enroll is December 31, 2020. For more information, please email Clara at gro.y1632580619bbole1632580619tamil1632580619csnez1632580619itic@1632580619gnaf.1632580619aralc1632580619.

Elise Koepke is a communications intern with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she studied Earth Science.