Our 2019 Organizing Fellowship


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Divest Ed Organizing Fellowship?

The Divest Ed Organizing Fellowship (or “Fellowship”) is a youth leadership development program for 30+ student fossil fuel divestment organizers in the United States who want to grow their organizing skills, deepen their commitment to the climate movement, and cultivate connections with other students across the country.

Fellows spend January-December 2019 building deep relationships at retreats, gaining skills through regular digital trainings, playing a larger role in the national divestment network, and receiving mentorship and campaign coaching. The Fellowship is intended for students who are newer to organizing and who may not have leadership positions in their campaigns yet. This support is intended for Fellows to apply on their own campus campaigns. Aside from the January and June training retreats, the Fellowship is digitally-based.

While this is our first year running a national and digitally-based fellowship, we have hosted 5 successful seasons of organizing fellowships from 2016-2018 for Massachusetts students.

What would I gain from participating in the Fellowship?

  • Training in fundamental campaign, organizing, and leadership skills
  • Relationships with other campus climate organizers across the country
  • Individualized mentorship opportunities and guidance on your campaign and your growth as an organizer
  • Connections with professionals working on climate and energy issues
  • Opportunity to join our community organizing summer program in Boston!

Who is the Fellowship for?

  • Current undergraduate students attending school at college in the United States, who will still be in school in Fall 2019.
  • Students involved in fossil fuel divestment campaigns on their campuses.
    • Are you involved in a different divestment campaign and interested in the Fellowship? We may be able to accommodate you! Please contact Rachel Schlueter at rachel@betterfutureproject.org. While the focus is on fossil fuel divestment campaigns, many of the skills are applicable to other divestment campaigns.  
  • Students who are newer to organizing, may not have leadership positions in their campaigns yet, and/or are looking to “level up” their organizing. First- and second-years are especially encouraged to apply!
  • Students who are passionate about developing a national climate movement through mentorship and relationship building.
  • Students who identify as people of color, indigenous, first generation, low-income, LGB, trans, nonbinary, or disabled, and students who come from communities currently impacted by climate and environmental injustice. Because Divest Ed aims to have the divestment movement be represented by those first and worst impacted by climate change, the fellowship will prioritize students who share such marginalized identities and experiences.

What are the Fellowship requirements?

  • Attend a 3-day training retreat from January 18-21 (MLK Holiday Weekend) and a 5-day training retreat from June 9-13. Complete attendance at both retreats is required (exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis). Financial assistance for travel costs will be offered.
  • Attend all required online calls during Spring (Jan-May) and Fall (Sep-Dec) semesters. Attendance on calls is required but, if approved, Fellows can watch call recordings on their own time.
    • For Standard Fellows: Attend all ‘Fellowship calls’ (2 calls per month).
    • For Intensive Fellows: Attend both ‘Fellowship calls’ and ‘Open calls’ (approx. 4 calls per month).
  • Participate in our in-person Boston summer program OR only attend required monthly online calls (Jun-Aug).
    • For Fellows doing our summer program: Attend June training retreat, attend required monthly online calls, and complete an 8-week in-person program at our office.
    • For Fellows not doing summer program: Attend June training retreat and all online Fellowship calls (1 call per month).
  • Have monthly campus coaching calls with the Campus Organizer throughout all of 2019.
  • Plan and facilitate a strategy session for your campus campaign in spring and/or fall 2019.
  • Serve as the Divest Ed Reps for your campus.

Please note that if you do the Fellowship, you cannot study abroad in Spring or Fall 2019.

How does the summer work?

For the summer, Fellows can either participate in our exciting in-person Boston program, or they can have their own summer plans. We expect that not all Fellows will choose to participate in the in-person summer program, and we can only accept up to 20 Fellows for this program. Please note that regardless of whether or not a Fellow does the summer program, all Fellows are required to attend the June training retreat, attend monthly Fellowship calls from June-August, and continue their full participation in the fall.

You can apply to the Fellowship now without knowing if you plan to do the summer program. Fellows will be asked to decide whether or not they want to participate by the end of February 2019.

For more details on the in-person summer program, please read the Summer FAQ below this FAQ.

What are the requirements for the in-person Boston summer program, for those who opt to participate?

Fellows who opt to participate in our in-person Boston summer program must attend the entire June training retreat, attend monthly online Fellowship calls from June-August, and complete the 8-week in-person program at our office from Monday, June 17 - Friday, August 9, 2019.

For more details on what the in-person summer program entails, please read the Summer FAQ below this FAQ.

Where is the Fellowship located?

The Fellowship is primarily digital, so students from all across the country can participate! All communication and calls during the 2019 spring and fall semesters take place online over Zoom. Only the January and June trainings retreats require in-person attendance. The January retreat will be held in Sherborn, Massachusetts (a 40-minute drive from the Boston Logan airport and accessible via public transit). The June retreat will most likely be held at a camp in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Divest Ed Campus Organizers will also visit campaigns across the country when capacity allows.

What are the selection criteria?

We will select applicants based on the following (these are not strict requirements):

  • Commitment to all dates and program requirements
  • Quality of application
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for the divestment movement
  • Commitment to working on campus organizing beyond the Fellowship  

I do not fulfill all of the eligibility or Fellowship requirements. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. However, we will prioritize applicants who do fulfill all of the requirements.

How many students per campus should participate?

We are looking for two students per campus. If you are the only student from your campus who is applying, try to find another student who will apply. We want to ensure we are training teams, not just individuals.

How do I apply to the Fellowship, and how soon will I find out if I am accepted?

The application form can be found at the bottom of this page. Submission of this form is the entirety of the application and takes between 20-30 minutes. You do not need to provide a resume or cover letter. You may be asked for a phone interview.

  • Early Bird Application Deadline: Monday 11/12
  • Early Bird Applicants Notified: Wednesday 11/14
  • Deadline for accepted Early Bird Applicants to confirm participation: Wednesday 11/21
  • Final Application Deadline: Wednesday 11/28
  • Final Applicants Notified: Friday 11/30
  • Deadline for accepted Final Applicants to confirm participation: Friday 12/07

Does it cost money to participate in the Fellowship?

No, there is no charge to participate. Fellows will be asked to fundraise what they can of their travel costs, either through grants from their schools or through grassroots fundraising, with support from the Divest Ed team.

Is the Divest Ed Fellowship a job? Will I be paid?

The Divest Ed Organizing Fellowship is not a job; it is a training program. Fellows are not paid for their participation.However, fellows who need financial assistance in order to fully participate can request it (see below). Furthermore, fellows who opt into our summer Boston-based community organizing program will receive a stipend and those who request it will get free housing.

Does Divest Ed cover the cost of travel to and from in-person retreats?

We encourage students to work through their campus groups for funding for travel. Some fellows choose to fundraise from their personal networks (in person, on social media, etc.), while others apply for funding through their schools. Divest Ed is committed to assisting all fellows who need help funding their travel to and from in-person retreats. We are able to provide travel stipends to a limited number of fellows who need extra support. For individuals who we cannot directly provide stipends to, we will gladly provide fundraising support.

Participating in the Fellowship would be a financial hardship for me. Is there a way I can get support to participate?

We want all students to be able to participate in the Fellowship without any undue financial hardship. And no one will be turned away from the Fellowship because of inability to pay or because of financial hardship. If participating in the Fellowship will cause financial burden because of having to work less or choosing not to take a part-time job, you are eligible to request financial assistance from us. When you submit your Fellowship application, you will be asked to fill out a form to describe your needs and your circumstances. If you have any questions about this, you can ,contact Rachel Schlueter at rachel@bettrfutureproject.org. Due to our limited budget, financial assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis. -- 

For more information on finances for the in-person summer program, please read the Summer FAQ below.

2019 Summer Program FAQ

The following questions are specific to the Boston in-person summer program. This is an OPTIONAL summer placement for Divest Ed Fellows. It is not required as part of the 2019 Fellowship. We expect that not all Fellows will choose to participate in the in-person summer program, and we can only accept up to 20 Fellows for this program. Those who choose not to participate are still required to attend monthly Fellowship calls from June-August and to continue their full participation in the fall.

What would I work on in the summer program?

Fellows will spend part of their time planning 2019-20 coordination of the national fossil fuel divestment movement, and the other part will be spent working directly with 350 Mass for a Better Future on local or statewide climate action campaigns to gain hands-on community organizing experience. The summer program may involve planning fall 2019 divestment actions or trainings, attending community meetings, having strategy sessions, doing outreach, organizing events, and making relationships with local community organizers. In the 2016 summer program, participants played a key role in organizing the 4-day, 43-mile #PeopleOverPipelines march from Medway to the State House covered by the Boston Globe and WBUR. You can see them in action here.

What are the summer program requirements?

Attendance of the entire kickoff training retreat is required. Fellows will work in our office 3 days a week (8 hours/day) plus additional events or meetings. Time commitment is between 24-30 hours per week. Exceptions to the work schedule may be made rarely on a case-by-case basis. The exact hours are subject to change, but are likely to be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am-6pm.

Key dates:

  • June Training Retreat: Monday-Friday, June 10-14, 2019 (Required for all Fellows)
  • First day in office: Monday, June 17, 2019
  • Last day of program: Friday, August 9, 2019

Does it cost any money to participate in the summer program?

No, there is no charge to participate. However, you will be expected to set a fundraising goal (with support from our team to reach it). You will also be expected to provide your own transportation to and from the kickoff training retreat.

Is the summer program paid?

Stipends of up to $100 per week (aside from the June training retreat where food and lodging are provided) are available upon request for food and transportation costs. You can apply for additional financial assistance upon acceptance.

What makes this summer program different from other programs?

This program is a mix of leadership development and firsthand experience. As you are being trained and coached, you will also have the chance to experience community organizing with our partners.

You will not be working in isolation. You will have the benefit of learning and working with a cohort of peers who share your interest in grassroots climate action. Our past participants have continued to hold deep relationships and share knowledge with each other long after the program’s end.

In addition to providing a resume boost, our priority is to create a rich and fun experience. We invest in a weeklong training retreat to make sure that we start the program with relationship building and great memories.

Unlike other youth leadership development programs, this program is at no cost to you! We also offer stipends and additional financial assistance.

Can I attend classes or have another job during the program?

Yes, you can attend classes or have another job as long as you are still able to fulfill the program requirements. If you plan to do so, we will ask you to note that in February 2019 when we begin filling spots for the summer program.

Where is the program located?

The work days will be spent at our office in Harvard Square, Cambridge. Other events and meetings will be in the greater Boston area or otherwise accessible by public transit.

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