RESPONSIBLE ENDOWMENTS COALITION www.endowmentethics.org


Make Green Jobs, Not War!

10 Years And Counting Poster

From another great group, 10 Years and Counting

A decade of war. A decade of stalling on green jobs, alternative energy, and climate legislation. This September 11th let's tell Congress 10 years is enough!

10 Years and Counting (www.10yearsandcounting.org) invites you to take action this fall between September 11th and October 7th, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. For many students the war has been going on for half of our lifetimes. We've spent over a trillion dollars--money that could, can, and should be invested in our future: in clean energy, green jobs, education, infrastructure, and community restoration. These loathsome anniversaries will be all over the news this fall, and you better believe that war hawks' voices will be heard loud and clear. Will ours?

Looking for ideas? Get creative. Rather than just hold a rally, do something that will invite broad participation by people who are likely to agree with you that the costs of war are too high. Host a peace day with free yoga, donated food, local musicians, and arts and crafts for kids. Organize a flash mob to an anti-war song. Fly 10 kites, one for each year, and invite community members to write out their hopes for peace to create colorful tails for the kites. Collect postcards demanding cuts to the Pentagon budget at all of your events, or organize a phone bank where students can call their representatives in a virtual march for peace. Organize a poetry reading, a hula hoop performance, a bake off, movie screening, mural painting, talent show, or other activity that will gain attention and pique interest. It's ok to be angry, but keep in mind most Americans are busy ignoring the war to focus on the problems at home. Speak to their concerns, but use art to lift up their voices in a positive way. If you want, tie it into the actions you're already planning for 350.org's day of action. Just don't forget to focus on the war budget.

Want more ideas? Visit our website where you can also place your event on the national map, get help from organizers and artists, and promote your event through social media and the 10YAC blog. Feel free to email 10yacinfo@gmail.com for more information or support. Together we can demonstrate there is grassroots support for ending the wars!
Add your reaction Share

Notes from the Five Fund Forum

By Daniel Riley, Chair, Socially Responsible Investment Committee

“Look for better then average returns”

This was the advice given by other members of the Green Mountain SRI Committee when I asked what I should look for at the Five Fund Forum, a sustainable investment conference recently held in Boston, New York, and San Francisco by Watershed Capital Group. This advice, while it might seem rather obvious and unhelpful to someone on the outside looking in, reflects a simple truth about what we have to aim for as representatives of a small endowment; we need to grow value as well as green our investment practices.

So what was the goal of attending the Five Fund Forum as opposed to staying with research and phone calls to responsible investment firms? Well, since the 15% of our endowment dedicated to SRI efforts is concentrated in Portfolio 21, conferences like the Five Fund Forum serve not only as an interesting way to learn about the emerging industry of responsible investing, but also an excellent way to build a network of possible future connections for continued investment. Even if our school had a different SRI strategy, one involving proxy voting and shareholder advocacy, I would suggest attending these conferences, if only to see how the financial sector views the idea of sustainable investing.

“What we all do is investment; we all still want to make money”

Sustainable investing is still investing, and as my main purpose for attending this conference was to learn how those in the industry viewed their work it was interesting to see that this quote was how the conference began. It’s a reality check, a statement that in the end, any financial strategy has to in the end be profitable in order to appeal to the broader audience. As a student looking into responsible investing I can’t really admonish those who see it as “just making money” because that’s the way these professionals have worked for decades. This was no ordinary class or lecture, but in a way much more valuable as I was able to listen and take notes on how real fund managers lay out what their funds do, the language used, and the asset strategies described.

From the standpoint of both a student and the chair of our SRI committee one area I was particularly interested in was banking, as community investment is a core part of the Green Mountain mission and a personal interest of mine. Since a local bank can serve as a real driver behind the shape of a community the language that comes out of a bank has to be more then direct asset investment or capital strategy, there has to be a desire to serve the interests of the community through support of businesses and projects that lead not only to profit, but to greater social welfare. Even in the small selection of funds presented at the conference there were to unique approaches to this issue, with one fund seeking to invest in companies that help underbanked communities to address social issues and another seeking to establish a bank with core values tied to the three “e”s;  environment, economy, and equity. In a regular class it’s not often true that you are able to question a banking professional with decades of experience how the issues of social responsibility “fit into your business model”, but if your willing to seek out these people it is refreshing to see how eager they are to share how they came to do what they do and where they think the industry is going.

“It was great getting to talk to you at the conference.”

One of the contacts made at this conference was someone who, it turns out, had grown up in my home town, and was happy to see a student becoming involved in responsible investing. I raised the point to him that in fact this was a national movement, and ours was just one of many SRI committees out there. “That may be, but you’re the only one here,” was essentially the reply, and he has a point. The premise behind responsible investing is that money is the great motivator, where shareholders are able to influence the behavior of companies in positive or negative ways through the availability of their funds. This process cannot work, though, if the voice of the shareholder isn’t heard.

So, if you’re interested in responsible investment, whether as part of an official SRI committee or as a possible future committee for your school, I would recommend going to conferences like the Five Fund Forum or the upcoming SRI in the Rockies conference in New Orleans. Students are the voice of this movement; we are the ones who will push it forward and it is up to us to sustain the momentum with the help of organizations like REC. Good Luck, and see you at the next conference.
Add your reaction Share

Maine Group Commited to Keeping Wealth in Local Communities

A report released by the group Maine Rural Partners discusses Maine's urgent need to invest in its communities and stem the flow of wealth leaving the state. Three Maine communities are on board with the plan. Our question is: when will we see Maine universities stepping up to invest in their neighborhoods?

Read Unity College's take on the report:

Groups Reveal Plans to Stem Tide of Wealth from Leaving Maine

On Friday, January 8, Maine Rural Partners, an Orono, Maine-based group dedicated to strengthening Maine’s rural communities, 40 supporters including officials from Unity College, unveiled a blueprint to stem the yearly tsunami of dollars that leave Maine’s rural communities each year.  Those gathered at the State House press conference in the Governor’s cabinet room offered specifics from a new report that highlights the problem of Maine’s generational drain of wealth from its communities.  The report, entitled Realizing Maine’s Worth: Our Community Legacy,  reveals an innovative approach to meeting Maine’s critical economic development investment needs.

In a study commissioned by Maine Rural Partners and vetted by 36 Maine-based experts, the RUPI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship found that over the next 25 years, Mainers will transfer approximately $91 billion to the next generation.  This unprecedented intergenerational transfer of wealth presents a meaningful self-investment opportunity, even as organizations and governments in Maine grapple with difficult budgetary decisions.

Executive Director Mary Ann Hayes of Maine Rural Partners, outlined the significance of the opportunity which the new initiative represents.  The report offered sobering facts about the amount of wealth that leaves Maine and a blueprint to turn loss into gain.

Hayes explained that if Mainers choose to invest 5% of their estates in community endowment funds, and if those funds’ investments generated 5% returns to benefit the community, then by 2020 these funds would supply an additional $74 million every year to achieve community economic development priorities.





constantin







Rob Constantine



“Each year the Maine economy loses millions of dollars as generational wealth moves out of the state or away from local communities,” said Rob Constantine, Vice President of College Advancement at Unity College, Technical Advisory Committee Member and Contributing Editor of the report.  “For example, when a person’s estate is settled often those assets go out of state or otherwise leave the local community.  The Realizing Maine’s Worth report quantifies the benefits Maine, especially our rural communities, will realize if we are able to keep generational wealth transfer in our communities.”

Constantine noted that the report will be acted upon by three communities, including Unity, home to Unity College.

“These three communities will take the results of the report to pilot community investment projects,” Constantine explained.  “The objective of these pilot projects is to create a blueprint for communities across Maine to address, significantly slow or in some cases stop the flood of generational wealth that is lost each year.  Our goal is to address this problem, keeping communities vital and prosperous.”

Maine’s Governor John Baldacci praised the plan.

“This is an innovative approach to community investment that builds on Maine’s strong philanthropic spirit,” said Governor Baldacci before the ceremony.  “It works to increase investments on the local and regional levels that will help our communities to grow and be more successful.”

The strategy is proven to work in other parts of the country.  In Montana, a decade of new incentives and donor outreach efforts generated more than $100 million in permanent endowment gifts by businesses and individuals.  Adapting this strategy to Maine’s distinctive culture, Maine Rural Partners is already working with pilot communities in the Unity region, Strong, and Rockport to create local endowment funds inspired by the conclusions of Realizing Maine’s Worth.

Later in 2010, Maine Rural Partners will publish a Community Legacy Tool Kit that consolidates the lessons learned by these three pilot communities.  This Tool Kit will guide other Maine communities that choose to capitalize on this opportunity.

The lead editor of the tool kit is Tess Woods '95, Executive Director of Unity Barn Raisers.

“The results of this report are very encouraging,” said Woods.  “The Unity area will benefit greatly as a pilot project, and I am honored to work with this team to develop a blueprint for successful community investment.”

Realizing Maine’s Worth is currently being delivered to all Maine legislators and public libraries. Dozens of public and private sector partners will participate in this distribution effort, including Maine Community Foundation, Maine Philanthropy center, Maine Development Foundation, Maine Center for Economic Policy, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc.

The report is also available online at www.mainerural.org/legacy, where visitors will be able to track the progress of the three pilot communities and download resources from the Community Legacy Tool Kit as they are developed.
Add your reaction Share

REC Community Investment Organizer Published in "The Boston Globe"

REC Community Investment Organizer Caroline Incledon’s letter to the editor was published in the June 11 edition of The Boston Globe! In her letter, Caroline argues that recent changes to the term limits and size of the Harvard Corporation will not be enough to spur complete endowment transparency. Check out the full letter:

Schools must move to full transparency

Jun 11, 2011 02:20 AM

RE “HARVARD improves governance, but full accountability still lags’’ (Editorial, June 4): While term limits and increased size may help modernize the Harvard Corporation, they are hardly sufficient reforms. Term limits may deter selfish interests from dominating the school’s main governing board, and increased size could lead to more debate and oversight regarding investment decisions. However, full transparency, which is necessary for operational accountability, will still be lacking.

When Lawrence Bacow was president of Tufts, the school received extremely low grades for endowment transparency from the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s report card. Furthermore, Tufts lost $20 million in the Bernard Madoff scheme under Bacow’s leadership of the board. If your editorial is going to hold ex-Harvard president Lawrence Summers accountable for his university’s endowment losses, it should recognize Bacow’s role in losses at Tufts as well, and realize that Bacow’s addition to the Harvard board doesn’t represent the sweeping change people might think.

However, neither Summers nor Bacow are individually responsible for their universities’ endowment losses. They are part of a larger, structurally ineffective higher education investment system that is convoluted and lacks transparency.

The group Students at Tufts for Investment Responsibility, of which I am president, agrees with your editorial that full improvements will occur only when the way business is carried out changes. As you suggest, this change should be built upon the release of more information and welcome more community input. “Formal rules requiring the release of minutes and agendas’’ is the least the Harvard board can do.

Caroline Incledon, Medford

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2011/06/11/schools_must_move_to_full_transparency/
Add your reaction Share

SRI in the Rockies 2011 in New Orleans

SRI In the Rockies


REC friends, check out the 22nd Annual SRI in the Rockies Conference, to be held in New Orleans, LA this October! The conference offers many opportunities to meet and learn from passionate, creative people from all corners of the sustainable and responsible investment industry (SRI) in the United States and around the world. Volunteer opportunities in New Orleans will also be available- check it out:
SUSTAINABLE INVESTING CONFERENCE TO PUT ATTENDEES TO WORK  IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN NEW ORLEANS

More than 200 “SRI in the Rockies” Attendees Expected to Work Directly to Build One New Home and Install Energy Efficiency Upgrades to 100 Existing Homes.

When hundreds of participants show up in New Orleans to attend the 22nd annual SRI in the Rockies Conference—the world’s largest and longest-running conference for the sustainable and responsible investment industry—they can go to work building a new home and making energy efficiency upgrades to 100 existing homes.  It’s an opportunity for conference attendees to practice what they preach in a very tangible, real-world way.

SRI in the Rockies will offer attendees an array of organized volunteer activities designed to make a positive impact on its host city.  The conference, to be held October 2–5, 2011 at the Sheraton New Orleans, has partnered with the St. Bernard Project, Project Green Light New Orleans, and a group of community development organizations to create an innovative and hands-on addition to the 2011 agenda.

Attendees can register for the conference as well as Volunteer Opportunities and Tours on the SRI in the Rockies websiteClick here for additional information about Tours and Volunteer Opportunities available as part of the SRI in the Rockies in New Orleans experience.

Steve Schueth, President, First Affirmative Financial Network and lead organizer of SRI in the Rockies said: “This seemed like an ideal way for attendees to ‘walk the talk’ during the conference.  SRI in the Rockies is all about a community experience, so this will be an ideal way for people to work together in a different way—one that you won’t see at too many other financial-focused conferences—if any!”

Volunteers who choose to work with the St. Bernard Project will work to rebuild homes for Hurricane Katrina survivors.  The St. Bernard Project is a nonprofit, community-based organization that creates housing opportunities so that Hurricane Katrina survivors can return to their homes and communities.  Since 2006, with the help of more than 30,000 volunteers, the St. Bernard Project has rebuilt homes for more than 350 families.

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to work with Project GreenLight New Orleans to install free energy efficient compact florescent light bulbs in homes in low income neighborhoods.  To date, Green Light volunteers have installed almost 250,000 energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in over 9,000 homes.  This effort has helped residents save $11.4 million and helped reduce New Orleans’ carbon footprint by 111 million pounds of CO2.

In addition, Community Development Tours will be hosted by a collaborative group of leaders in the community investing field including Calvert Foundation, Hope Credit Union, Enterprise Community Partners, and The Isaiah Funds.  The conference will offer a unique and custom tailored tour of projects representative of the community development work being done in the New Orleans area.

Check out http://www.sriintherockies.com for more info, and let REC know if you're planning to attend.
Add your reaction Share

May 2011 Campus Updates: Fordham Community Investment A Go, and more



Other Campus Updates:

American University students are engaging in a dialog with REC about endowment transparency and what their school’s potential role may be in the funding of weapons manufacturers.

At Boston University, the administration has agreed to continue dialog surrounding the potential of a committee on investor responsibility pending the approval of the faculty council. Campaign organizers will be organizing around that vote through the summer and into the fall.

Washington University in St. Louis’s new Investor Responsibility Advisory Committee continues to come into focus, as undergraduates, grad students, and faculty are being staffed to serve on the committee for its first year.

REC visited Wesleyan University this past month, and had a great time engaging in a dialog with students about how their institution could be more transparent, responsible, and accountable to its community. Wesleyan’s campaign will be continuing in the 2011-2012 school year.

Active campaigns at a number of other schools such as Earlham College, Tufts University, Brown University, and Evergreen State College are taking a pause as the school year comes to a close, but with the hopes for more successes and gains in the upcoming school year. REC congratulates and thanks students at these schools and all over the country for their hard work and wishes them the best of luck over the summer and into the upcoming school year!

Correction. This blog post originally read that the University of California, Santa Barbara established a Committee on Investor Responsibility. This is not the case. REC sincerely apologize for any confusion.


Fordham photo by Flickr user mgrenner57.
Add your reaction Share

Fordham University Plans to Invest $500K into Bronx Financial Institutions

by Brett Vetterlein, Community Investment Campaign Organizer



In May of 2010, a group of student activists and I got together in my apartment to talk about the possibility of community investment at our school, Fordham University. This meeting would not have happened if a month or so earlier I hadn’t met with Martin Bourqui, the National Organizer for REC. He contacted my roommate Michael and I because we had previously talked to REC about endowment transparency and other responsible investing topics we were interested in. Things had kind of fizzled out by this point, but Martin thought otherwise. I had heard about REC’s new community investment campaign from Martin's predecessor Cheyenna. It sounded good, but at the time I was too interested in what I had already learned about and didn't see what turned out to be the right thing to do

By the Spring of 2010, I had been a part of a few unsuccessful campaigns. When I heard what Martin had to say, I knew it was a good idea. Community investment just made sense at Fordham for so many reasons. We were a private university located in the middle of a poor urban area that everybody knows, the Bronx. Fordham also has a strong history of connections to the Bronx, spanning back to the 1960s and especially the 70s during the “Bronx is Burning” period. At that time, Fordham students, alumni, and Bronx community members got together and began organizing for a better Bronx. That legacy has continued with Fordham’s strong community service program. I thought I could make the connections to continue it further.

The unofficial slogan of our campaign was “the Bronx deserves better,” and with the help of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, I think we gave them something better.

The university plans to invest $500,000 into Bronx financial institutions over the summer: $250,000 in Bethex Federal Credit Union and $250,000 in the Burnside Ave., Morris Height Banking Development District of the Amalgamated Bank. This money will be used by Bronx community members to take out a mortgage on their first house, buy a car, go to school, and start small businesses - all things that would help lead to economic empowerment for one of the country’s poorest areas.

Our group, Fordham for the Bronx, isn’t ready to stop either. Although I will have graduated, the group is looking into ways that we could get other large institutions in the Bronx to begin investing in Bethex and Amalgamated. The Responsible Endowments Coalition really helped us create strategy and implement the tactics necessary to our successful campaign. Personally, REC has allowed me to take on leadership and supported my decisions throughout the campaign, giving me the tools to be successful. I couldn’t have done it without the other members of Fordham for the Bronx, or without the Responsible Endowments Coalition.

Way to go!

Ed. note: Congratulations to Brett and Fordham for the Bronx for your amazing work!
Add your reaction Share

Nine Reasons Why REC Student Organizer Is The Best Job On Campus



REC is currently hiring paid student organizers for the 2011-2012 school year. Wondering why you should apply? We've compiled the nine best reasons - read on, and apply now, because the deadline is coming up soon!

1. Set your own hours, and work (mostly) from home

Only got free time Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings? You can still make the most of it, even right from your dorm room! If you're living and working on or near your campus anywhere in the United States, you're eligible to apply. Some campus organizing does require getting out into the world, but you can do a lot of this work on your own terms, which is an advantage many other jobs can't offer.

2. Check-ins weekly, or whenever you need support

Student organizers have half-hour paid weekly check-ins with REC staff. Students and staff collaborate on resources, exchange ideas, brainstorm, share concerns or struggles, or just tell a good story about what happened this week. REC staff are available 24/7 by phone, email, or even an in-person meeting.

3. Work for tangible, permanent, institutional change to benefit the community, society, and the environment

There's nothing wrong with serving coffee or monitoring the photo lab. However, paid opportunities to make the world a better place while still on-campus are few and far between. Students often are forced to choose between what is lucrative and what is good for the world - we're fortunate enough to have the opportunity to provide both. REC Student Organizers in the past have done amazing things, such as:

  • Setting up a Committee on Investor Responsibility at Washington University in St. Louis, one of the first committees of its type in the Midwest.

  • Proposing a Sustainability Fund and using an unprecedented reporting strategy to create transparency and engage the university's fund managers.

  • Assisting in the coordination of a multi-campus campaign to engage J.P. Morgan Chase due to their financing of mountaintop removal coal mining.

  • Campaigning to move half a million dollars from Wall Street banks to community development financial institutions in the Bronx.

4. Give your resume a competitive edge with a variety of new skills

Employers are looking for talented students with experiences like working independently, speaking on behalf of an organization, fundraising, negotiation, and being a real self-starter who can take initiative on new projects.

5. Learn all about investment finance, higher education, and social justice

The work for responsible investment that goes on at universities sits at the intersection of several different universes. Are you interested in the politics of campus organizing and the democratization of higher education? Have you always wanted to learn more about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and all that other stuff? Want to know what the responsible investment industry is all about? You'll learn all of this and more.

6. Design your own campaign

Are you an advocate for sustainability? Care about labor rights? Want to create new opportunities for the local community? Whatever your 'cause' may be - and even if you don't have one - your job is to create your campaign from the ground up, and REC is here to support you, not call the shots.

7. Be a leader in the national responsible investment movement in higher ed

REC Student Organizers have been among the first student activists to bring unprecedented responsible investment opportunities to higher education, from groundbreaking community investment initiatives to engaging school's fund managers to setting up committees on investor responsibility. Some of our student organizers literally write the "how-to" manual for brand new forms of activism!

8. Get trained at our awesome Summer Organizing Institute

The SOI has been called "truly inspiring" by student oragnizers in the past, and this year will be better than ever. From August 7-13, REC will be hosting a one-week intensive training in Lee, Massachusetts - that's in beautiful Western Mass., in the Berkshire Mountains. We'll be giving you and other students everything you need to know to bring instiuttional change to your school, from media engagement skills to tips on negotiation to recruitment tactics, plus all the financial information you will (and won't) need to hold your own in a boardroom. You can meet some amazing new friends from across the country, to boot.

9. No previous knowledge or experience required

We're not necessarily looking for econ majors, experienced campus organizers, or finance experts - although none of these would hurt. We're looking for smart, hardworking, dedicated, idealistic young leaders who are willing to take on unique and powerful work for social justice and institutional change. If this sounds like a great opportunity, then your enthusiasm will be your biggest advantage.

We hope YOU will consider applying to be one of our student organizers for the 2011-2012 school year. If you have any questions, I hope you'll email us at organize@endowmentethics.org - we look forward to hearing from you. Learn more and apply today.
Add your reaction Share

Collaborative Activism

by Dave Warnock, Midwest Student Organizer


More to do. There is always more to do. My team at Washington University did excellent work over the past two and a half year to secure the creation of the Investor Responsibility Committee. And I’m thankful for all the work that they put in. Since I’ll be graduating at the end of the year, I want to wish them all the best of luck in continuing their work on campus. There are number of improvements to work on in the coming years, and I would like to offer them my continued support in the semesters ahead.

I know I feel proud of what we started at WashU. The creation of the Investor Responsibility Committee is a huge precedent and an enormous foothold on which to build future endowment-based campaigns in the future. And I’m excited to see how the WashU students are going to put it to use.

Significant as it is, the Committee needs work and improvements going forward. And I trust my team to take on the mantle of these efforts. I discussed some of this in my last blog post, from the lack of positive screening power to the restriction on consensus issues. My recommendation is to adopt broadening power as the next strategy in the WashU Endowment campaign. After a year of smooth operations, there should be decent bargaining power.

I feel as though I myself gained something from all this work as well. Before starting on endowment issues, I was not the most adept campaign organizer in the world. Two and a half years of work has really helped me develop. I look forward to the next campaign I take on, and then I can really show my stuff. The endowment showed me the power of collaborative effort and coalition building, and these are strengths of mine in particular now. I imagine they will serve me well.

So I’ll close by offering my final thank you’s to everyone who was a part of this. First thanks is to Todd Zimmer, who initiated the campaign and discovered the issue. Next to Dan Cohn and Molly Gott, who easily the most helpful partners I could have hoped for in a campaign, and best of luck in net year’s work with the Committee. Then to Dan Fishman and all leaders at the Student Union for providing the official support of the Student Body and for developing a permanent relationship with the Investment Office. To Kim Walker for being open to our ideas and listening to us and dealing in good faith all this time. And of course, to Dan, Martin, and fellow Student Organizers at REC for their professional guidance and training all year. To all these people and more, I say that I couldn’t have done it with out you.
Add your reaction Share

A Completed Proposal – but Not a Completed Chapter

by Caroline Incledon, Community Investment Organizer



As the school year comes to a close, I've finally submitted a formal community investment proposal to Tufts administrators on behalf of Students at Tufts for Investment Responsibility (STIR). The proposal urges Tufts to live up to its ideals of active citizenship by investing a portion of its operating account into a local bank, which will support small business and low-income residents, improve town-gown relations, and promote opportunities for interdisciplinary education. The proposal was presented alongside a letter of support from the Tufts Progressive Alumni Network (TPAN), a petition for community investment signed by 100+ students, signatures of support from many individual alumni, and REC's handbook on community investment for administrators, Maximizing Returns to Colleges & Communities (PDF). It contained two semesters' worth of research and organizing, and incorporated the needs and desires of students, faculty, administrators, and the local community. While the administration won't formally debate the proposal until the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, there was productive dialogue about the proposal's contents and the potential concerns of the administration. No matter the outcome, though, I'm proud of the proposal, grateful for the support of those who helped shape it, and confident that the Tufts campus is collectively more active and informed about investment responsibility.

At the same time, I don't feel a sense of completion, and I don't think I will feel one after getting a definitive answer from the administration, either. Working as a community investment organizer has opened my eyes to how much more of an impact a university can have on the local community by simply moving its money, and our universities can always improve. Being a part of REC has also taught me about the myriad other ways that universities can improve socioeconomic conditions. This work is also always unfinished. Finally, representing investment responsibility at Tufts has allowed me to realize and interact with the variety of activist individuals and student groups on this campus fighting for progressive causes, and impressed upon me our mutually supportive goals. Therefore, even though I've handed in a final proposal to school administrators regarding my community investment initiative, the opportunities and challenges I see regarding community investment, socially responsible investment, and activism in general in higher education seem greater than ever. My community investment campaign served to open my eyes to new ideas and new ventures on my campus and on others. I am reminded of a quote from the 1962 Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society:
"these social uses of the universities' resources also demonstrate the unchangeable reliance by men of power on the men and storehouses of knowledge: this makes the university functionally tied to society in new ways, revealing new potentialities, new levers for change."

Ultimately, this isn’t troubling. In fact, it’s beneficial. When we try to create change – like working to improve higher education investments – we begin to think more critically about the work we are doing and how it can impact present campaigns or lead to future ones. Therefore, our past experiences allow us to be more adept at identifying and acting on these “new potentialities” for change. In a way, we become the “new levers for change” ourselves. A year of student organizing has taught me skills and introduced me to people that I will always wish to remember. It’s taught me how I work best with people, what I am most effective at, and what my weaknesses are. I’ve made mistakes and learned from them, and should have approached some things differently. At the end of the day, though, I am better prepared for the next chapter in the story – and I hope that all my fellow organizers feel the same way!

Add your reaction Share

Sponsors

Partners

Partners

Partners