Leading RISD's Divestment Movement

 

Summary

Student Activism while at Rhode Island School of Design

Role: Founder and Leader of Divest RISD

Movement Building
Formal Presentation to Stakeholders
Negotiation with Administration
Storytelling on This American Life

 

While a student at Rhode Island School of Design, I founded Divest RISD, a group that is working with RISD's administration and board to divest from fossil fuels. Over the course of my senior year, I developed a strategy of negotiation and campaign based around discussions with the school's leaders, student involvement, petitioning, workshops, and online visibility. With over 1000 student petition signatures, unanimous support from the faculty, and the backing of the staff, we were still denied a forum in front of the Board of Trustees, the stakeholders with ultimate decision making power. The movement culminated in a sit-in in President John Maeda's office, demanding to be heard at the school's board meeting in May, and was amplified by a peaceful protest over 200 students and community members. Our efforts landed me on an episode of This American Life, and contributed to the City of Providence's divestment from fossil fuels in 2013.