While a conservation biology undergraduate and student organizer at LSU, a group of students and I attending Power Shift 2011, a +9000 participant clean energy and youth leadership conference in Washington D.C. This cohort was one of ten Louisiana college campuses I helped recruit for the conference, totaling over 100 Louisiana youth. As a state organizer for the Youth Alliance of Louisiana Leaders, a non-profit organizing state youth for environmental leadership, my role included fundraising over $1500 for travel scholarships, coordinating logistics between campuses, and earning media hits with press releases, pitch calls, and interviews.
At the conference, the students heard speakers such as author Bill McKibben, former Vice President Al Gore, civil rights and environmentalist Van Jones, and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and attended workshops on leadership, youth political engagement, and seminars on clean energy production. As a conference presenter, I gave a workshop to over 500 youth on storytelling for social change, analyzing how today’s most effective public speakers move people to action and helping youth realize their own stories.
Many of the youth who attended the conference became involved in activism via Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), or the youth chapter of the Sierra Club. In the years leading up to the conference, I had the privilege of leading trainings to youth on environmental leadership, political efficacy, and community organizing at SPROG, the SSC’s environmental leadership and organizing summer program. Today, this program still trains hundreds of youth each year and is looked upon as a prime example of grassroots capacity building.
Here are a few pictures of the conference and of Sierra Student Coalition events. For questions about the conference, leadership musings, or the SSC, contact me!