by Jocelyn Sawyer
I’m really excited about Earlham Alums for REInvestment.
When I was a student working on REInvestment, I experienced the challenges of reaching out to EC alums. We knew we had allies out there – folks who would be willing to call and pester SRIAC, write letters or op/eds, and even withhold their donations to the college on our behalf. But as students with full courseloads and a lot of other work to do to keep the campaign moving forward, it was really hard to focus on alumni outreach.
Now that I’m a graduate myself, I’m excited that EAR is here to take on a lot of that networking, and to mobilize alums to support the students in whatever ways they need. And right now, we’re launching our first big project in response to a need we’ve heard from the student group.
This fund would help students in REInvestment travel to conferences, trainings, and other events, where they’d have opportunities to meet and learn from experienced grassroots organizers and people who are directly impacted by fossil fuel extraction. REInvestment members have been lucky enough to make trips like this in the past, to the Mountain Justice Fall Summit or to national divestment convergences in 2013 and 2014 – and I can say from experience that they’ve been moving and powerful.
So, fellow Earlham alums… we’re asking for your help.
We in EAR thought long and hard about making this ask for donations. No one associated with REInvestment has ever asked for money before, and we don’t intend to make a habit of it. We wouldn’t be asking now if we didn’t think this was very important.
But I know how important this is. I know that this fund isn’t just about supporting REInvestment – it’s about empowering young leaders. When they attend workshops and trainings with experienced grassroots organizers, Earlham students will develop their own organizing and leadership skills. When they have the chance to meet people living on the frontlines of extreme energy extraction and see the impacts of fossil fuels firsthand, they will expand their perspectives and understandings about environmental justice. And that kind of knowledge is stuff they’ll carry with them beyond Earlham. I know that from experience, too.
As an Earlham alums, we in EAR can confidently say that as long as Earlham College is invested in fossil fuels, we’d rather invest directly in Earlham students.