The Sierra Club has decided to dissolve its student-run arm, the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC). I think its a disastrous, short-sighted decision, made by an organization that has lost its bearings. But I’m not a member of the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors anymore, and haven’t been for over a decade. Decisions like this are mine to mourn, not mine to make.
this is super interesting and insightful, and makes me (33) think a lot about the organizations I'm now involved with, the organizations I've worked with in the past, and the incredibly difficult challenge so many of them have had in maintaining relationships with former participants and converting them into donors or other roles
Thanks for this great synopsis, Dave. I wrote an article years ago on the volunteer continuum related to work I was doing with a national progressive religious coalition around the same issues and themes. As a grassroots Sierra Club leader, we benefitted directly from SSC leaders in our midst, but had to recognize that we might have three years of their involvement at best. And an issue they would connect with. But that’s organizing 101. I know though that for some chapter leaders, they found this frustrating - “these kids aren’t in it for the long haul.” And if your time horizon is ten years, that’s true. If it’s for fifty years, and truly oriented towards movement building, you can’t get enough of their involvement. I understand some of the challenges of dealing with financial short falls, but to your point, even having a little bit of focus now would go a long way towards building the SC’s future - indeed, being part of the engine of change overall. Thanks for all you do, including raising your little ones now.
Thank you for writing this, Dave! I feel seen and recognized. Am forever grateful to you for your leadership and mentorship.
Dave, interesting to see your valuable perspective on SSC. When I met you, more than twenty years ago, I was working with and reporting on the "older" volunteers you mention and while I admired their dedication, it was apparent then and must be even more glaring now the need to be welcoming to new and younger voices.
Good to see what you've been up to in the meantime.
Great discussion Dave. It's tragic. Not just for the Club but for the environmental movement at large. Especially striking given the importance of students and younger generation in climate work today. (reminds me of the post-election dissolution of Obama for America...). Hope you're well.
thank you bossman.
as you know the subtext of crisis is opportunity; so what’s the plan:
“oh well, whatever, never mind.”
Sincere gratitude. As someone that lives a few miles from MSD HS in Parkland, I have experienced the power of our youth & forever humbled that I was able to stand next to MSD students the night of the vigil after the tragedy and the March for Our Lives with the young leading across from the very school named after Marjory and via other interactions with the kids and teachers. The SC Reorg has been very painful also for field staff that worked so hard to build these relationships with young people.
thank you! great analysis. "the personal is political"