REC sat down with Steve Schueth of First Affirmative Financial Network – who was interested in sharing his feelings about responsible investment and his story about how he got involved.
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REC: How did you get involved with responsible investment?
I went to school at Marquette where basketball was the big thing, and we didn’t have anything like the Responsible Endowments Coalition. I had a gradual awakening, but I wish that he had woken up earlier when I was in college, it was 14 years before I got into socially responsible investment.
I joined Calvert in 1989. Previously I had been the director of development at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and then was working in the financial services industry. While I was there I met Wayne Silby and John Guffey who founded Calvert in 1981 and were integrating values into investment and learning about the Buddhist tradition and philosophy of ‘right livelihood’, which was a big aha! moment for them. I had been in financial services since 1976 and when I began to learn about the emerging field of socially responsible investing, doing good with money, it was a coming home, it just felt right for me.
For me there are two kinds of people in the world. The majority of folks feel very comfortable having their money disconnected from the rest of their lives. They are okay making as much money as they can and giving a little bit away to solve some of the world’s problems. They aren’t as socially conscious.
The other group of folks is people that are doing good work with their money. We want our money doing good things and making money at the same time. We’re conscious how our money is working in the world and know that it has an impact if we realize it or not. I would have been very grateful if I had realized this in college.
REC: It’s the same way now for a lot of people.
In college most people are thinking about sports and boys and girls. It’s hard to break through the excitement that is happening and the process of leaving home. REC has an important role to play bringing these insights and ideas to students.
REC: Why do you think colleges and universities should be involved in responsible investment?
Think Sustainability. It can be applied to just about everything, companies, colleges, countries, planet. This idea of being sustainable so that everyone lives well for a long time—forever, hopefully—built into that concept is long-term thinking. Schools are places for cultivating long-term thinking. Institutions are long-term investors. Colleges and universities have a really important role shifting the paradigm from short-termism to long-termism. If you look back at the genesis of most of the problems in most of the markets, most of it can be traced to short-term thinking. Even if a college doesn’t get to the point to invest in a more socially conscious way—it needs to spread the message about long-term.
I’ve been involved in some efforts of the last 20 years on responsible investment campaigns on campus. In all cases a small group of committed students was lobbying the university with professional support, and the university successfully stalled and the passion died. REC plays an important role in keeping that flame alive.
Changing policies at schools is challenging: there are many interests. I would not approach them with exclusionary concepts. Encourage them to approach investing by weighting their portfolios with the most responsible corporations.
If you happen to be where, say, Altria is located, you don’t want to totally exclude that stock, but can own less of them. Sustainability in investing is not only very doable, but frankly is necessary.
REC: What message would you send to students advocating for positive changes to investment policies on their campuses?
SS: Students are thinking long-term. Socially conscious investors are very long-term. Investors tend to be there every year. That discipline is important. If you can establish institutional memory, that’s incredibly helpful. You need to be smart about identifying pressure points. Understand the climate and players, and who has influence. If you understand the situation you can be much more effective and efficient in the way you are advocating for change. Maintain information for and educate the next group of students.
REC: How would you convince a university to make community investments?
SS: I think the best is working with a local organization. You can also use an organization like the Calvert Foundation, which can focus on your local area, but get important diversification. Some mutual funds do community investment like Community Capital Management’s CRA Fund and Access Capital Strategies. Pretty much all of our clients get some exposure and don’t even know it. Fixed income in community investments is very competitive.
Also, understand the culture of the situation and the politics. Be positive with trustees and talk about how admirable it is that they are for working with the university. Talk about how from an investment perspective you need to think about the future of the world your students are graduating into, a conversation that can lead to a more conscious set of decisions.
Also, students might remind them of the LA Times investigative report on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where they were invested in companies causing the diseases where they were building clinics. There was such a cognitive dissonance.
REC: Anything you’d like to add?
SS: More and more clients are interested in the advocacy that we are doing. They are interested in what we’re doing to poke and nudge companies to be better corporate citizens and to identify companies embracing sustainability. From a client perspective there does seem to be a shift towards a social improvement type of strategy and there is more recognition that companies have a huge impact on quality of life.
I see a massive erosion of trust in both government and companies. People have turned to us to manage money in a different way. If you have board members and people who are mistrustful, you can use that approach. You can also look at qualitative analysis of impacts, behaviors, and culture. Sometimes research is a way to open eyes and open minds.
Bard College students continue to seek to raise awareness They also hope to move from focusing from solely environmental problems into human rights and other political issues through filing shareholder resolutions.
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At Brown University, students are pushing to dialogue with the administration about transparency and responsible investment through a coalition of groups including Open the Books and SDS.
Fordham University's business relationships and decision-making structures are issues that students are focusing on this year through the advancement of a community investment proposal.
This year at Guilford College, a new REC member, is its "year of sustainability" and students are aiming to work with the administration on making sure its investment policies are aligned with the school's message.
Macalester College students are seeking a lasting partnership with community banks such as University Bank, and an expansion of community-related investment projects.
Students are hoping to institutionalize and further define responsible investment at Mount Holyoke College beyond its existing initiatives; ideas include pushing for more transparency, putting more faculty and students on the board, and a campus education initiative.
This is the inaugural year for the New School's Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility (ACIR), and the committee hopes to engage broader student body engagement. One of their primary goals is exploring engagement with mutual fund managers.
A new REC member school, students at Oregon's Portland State are exploring tying their campus's values of sustainability and locality to community investment or other responsible investment initiatives.
Princeton University students continue the fight to end their school's investment in unfair labor practices, while also exploring local area Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and movement towards community investment.
Seattle University students seek to create a sustainable movement and voice for responsible investment issues on campus through the strengthening of their responsible investment committee, student representation on the Board of Trustees, and networking with other Jesuit Schools on RI issues.
Students this year are seeking to expand the mandate of Swarthmore College's committee on investor responsibility, while seeking the implementation of policies against mountaintop removal coal mining and hydrofracking at the highest levels of the administration.
Students are pushing for increased awareness and an open dialogue on responsible investment issues on campus at the University of Southern California, while also closely following the proposed expansion of their campus into Los Angeles.
At Washington University in St. Louis, students seek democratic control of the endowment through an institutionalized committee on investor responsibility and the creation of responsible investment policies.
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According to Responsible Investor, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund recently decided to integrate responsible investment across its portfolio- and scrapped its more limited responsible investment committee. They are planning to make a portion of their investment in "positive investments" or as people often call them impact investments. They're engaging and encouraging better practices at corporations in their portfolio too.
These steps don't have to be taken all at once, but as pension funds around the world are making these changes, universities shouldn't want to be left behind--and eventually disparaged for not taking a leadership role.Read the article here.
by Caroline Incledon, Community Investment Campaign Organizer
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The topic of this post may (at first) seem only tangentially related to responsible investment or organizing on college campuses. I know that its role certainly caught me by surprise. What I'm referring to is marketing, or brand image and advertising techniques, hardly something I thought I would have to tackle when launching a community investment campaign at Tufts University. But, surprisingly, I find myself continuously encountering marketing related opportunities and challenges in my community investment campaign at Tufts.
The necessity of a powerful marketing campaign first became apparent to me as I networked around Tufts, recruiting and connecting with allies and administrators. I found myself "selling" responsible investment - what did if have to offer, I was asked, and what would be the benefits of what we were trying to achieve? Although I knew the answers to these questions, I began to recognize the importance of, and begin to formulate, a more synthesized and relatable response. For recruits, this message needed to be attention-grabbing, yet capable of sustaining prolonged interested. Work should seem fun... but challenging... but also rewarding! The list goes on and on. Then, with allies and administrators, you must demonstrate the comprehensiveness, legitimacy, and beneficial aspects of your campaign. These challenges are what I view as "ideological" marketing; you are developing your own ideas and asserting the importance of socially responsible investment. Luckily, ideological marketing doesn't really feel like work. In reality, you are only refining your own incoherent thoughts and making them more palatable for your general audience.
But then there is the technical side of marketing. Running a campaign on your campus, or being an organizer, involves just that: organizing! You need certain structures or mechanisms to sustain interest, get the word out, and be productive. Maybe you start a club, and need a logo or club name to be more recognizable. Maybe you want to get to reach a larger audience or really get your unedited thoughts out, so you started a facebook page or blog, or design some flyers. All of a sudden, you are in charge of the brand image. Do you want it to be recognizable, or attention-grabbing, or familiar? Do you want your logo to evoke a sense of professionalism, or to subtly reference money or the environment? The physical images as well as the rhetoric you use combine to create a representation of your cause - one that can either draw people in (hopefully!) or turn them away.
Yet the power of marketing has also become apparent to me on a larger scale. It is a fundamental part of the structures we are working within. The schools we attend have spent millions of dollars and immeasurable quantities of time honing their images. They have reputations that bring them faculty, donations, and students desiring admission. They are institutions with clearly defined senses of self and well-thought-out ideas about their role in your life, the community, and the world. Acknowledging the pervasive inclusion of marketing in the communities in which we do work can help us.
Marketing has presented a few obstacles, but also a lot of exciting possibilities for growth. Developing an image for a cause can be fun. Furthermore, it can help a group to determine what direction they want to move in. It may even help you draw in the support of a graphic-deisgn savvy friend who might not otherwise have been immediately interested in endowment issues. Working on ideological advertising can also be helpful. The issues we are working on, from community investment to shareholder activism, can appear convoluted, and for perspective it is sometimes useful to utilize simple ideological statements such as "Move Your Money" and "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is". Finally, understanding the motivations (of reputation and image) behind some of your school's actions can be helpful. Appealing to your school's idea of itself may make administrators more receptive. Does your school pride itself on its strong relations with the surrounding town? Then it may be easier to convince them to invest in the community and live up to the standards they have made for themselves. Marketing, when done well and/or used in an intelligent way, has the potential to really further the work we do.
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About a week ago, the New York Times published an article U.C. Proxy Voting Skirts Guidelines, Documents Show
explaining how the University of California investment office has been voting against social and environmental resolutions. The article explains how the university “prides itself as a leader on social and environmental issues,” yet acts in a highly contradictory way. It’s exciting and highly encouraging news that even the Times recognizes the importance of proxy voting and the U.C. system’s paradoxical behavior, but unfortunate that an environmental leader in so many ways is such a laggard in this crucial aspect.
REC has been supporting the University of California Responsible Investment Coalition (UCRIC) to change the university’s proxy voting and investment policies for four years. According the UC system policy, the university should be reviewing each vote case-by-case, which they aren’t doing. They need to be, rather than paying a proxy voting service.
Of equivalent significance in the article, though, was the university investment office response to the criticism. According to the Times “Melvin Stanton, the university’s associate chief investment officer, said in an e-mail that U.C. focused primarily on growing its investments,” and quoted him saying that their was no evidence of improved value to companies, implying that there is no reason to be proxy voting.
While Stanton and the U.C. investment office believe they are doing the best for shareholder value, pension funds and other institutional investors are leaving them behind on proxy voting and their positions on environmental and social issues in general.
Long-term investors who aren't environmental leaders in other areas, like pension funds and managers CalPERS and NYCERS in the US, and Norges Bank and ABP in Europe, have started taking environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions, including proxy voting, realizing the long-term potential benefits to their entire portfolios and beneficiaries, as well as society at large.
At the same time, Associate C.I.O. Melvin Stanton would rather not engage on these issues, even in the forum of proxy voting. It is a shame for the University of California to be such a leader on one front, to be such an outspoken laggard on another.
Our message to Mr. Stanton; you can hope that your 5,000 company holdings do well once they destroy the resources that they collectively depend on, or you can become a leader on these issues, and really teach the rest of the world that you can make money while being concerned about your impacts!
If you’re reading this, please feel free to reach out to us at the Responsible Endowments Coalition for some help.
by Dave Warnock, Midwest Student Organizer
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I feel lucky that something really interesting on campus fell into my lap, so my first blog post will be somewhat more interesting than “people came to the meeting.” The upcoming event will be a great opportunity for spreading awareness about endowment issues at WashU. We were planning to do an education and networking activity at about this time in the semester, so we are excited about this turn of events.
But I suppose, I should tell you what’s going on, rather than continue to babble. WashU’s local environmental group, Green Action, is putting on the Climate Solutions Forum, and they have invited Students for Endowment Transparency to participate. The impetus came when, last semester, two new board members were chosen. And they are (get ready for this) the CEOs of Peabody Coal and Arch Coal! A less than savory duo to say the least. Peabody is the nation’s largest coal company, and Arch is not for behind. Both make extensive use of the destructive Mountaintop Removal process in Appalachia, and then ship it into Missouri on a daily basis (despite the fact that the northern Plains of Missouri are a great place to put Wind Turbines that are closer to home). At the same time, WashU decided to create the Clean Coal Consortium. This made it clear that WashU administrators did not hold Green Energy in high esteem, and would cling to Fossil Fuels. It was also dressed up in the marketing term “Clean Coal”, to protect their image. This creation, in conjunction with the new Coal Execs on the Board, spurred Green Action toward protest. Our campaign has been allied with that movement from the get go.
So the Climate Solutions Forum is the latest development in Green Action’s campaign for WashU to abandon Fossil Fuels, and become a leader in renewable energy. It was planned to match with the coming of the Coal Execs to campus and the latest development of the Clean Coal Consortium (October 2nd-4th). They’re trying to push Carbon Sequestration as “the way of the future”.
The Forum, however, will show where the future really lies. First, we are going to show up at their main event, a big fancy dinner in which an Obama administration official will be addressing personnel from WashU, Peabody, Arch, Ameren UE (our local electrical provider) and several other St. Louis corporations. We will wearing T-shirts and carrying signs that say “Stop Ignoring Our Climate Future” and other statements along those line. Mind you, we plan to be quiet and undisruptive (even CEO’s have free speech rights), but we will be noticed.
Part Two will come on the heels of this attendance. Green Actions is planning a series of workshops at WashU, at which students, faculty, and even the administration and CEO’s may attend, where they will hear all about the many simple paths we have available toward making a Green Energy future. It is to lay out for all to see, it isn’t that the corporations can’t do it. It’s that the won’t do it. Hence the theme, “Stop Ignoring”.
Anyway, Students for Endowment Transparency is going to giving a workshop/teach-in (whatever you would call it) on the Endowment Process and Socially Responsible Investment. We look forward to showing the environmental benefits of establishing a Committee on Investor Responsibility. The teach-in will show that Green Action could use the Endowment to further WashU’s environmental commitments, by voting proxies on corporate sustainability, screening for solar panel companies and away from oil, and the like, giving them another prong upon which to lead their efforts. All of the progressives at WashU, myself included, are looking forward to the Climate Solutions Forum. And I must say, all in all, WashU is clearly becoming a much more exciting place than when I started.
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From the Bay Citizen and the New York Times: the University of California isn't voting its values on hundreds of shareholder resolutions that have come before it.
Under U.C.’s proxy voting guidelines, the university is required to review case by case all shareholder resolutions that are “controversial or relate to social issues.” But thousands of documents obtained from sources and under a California Public Records Act request by The Bay Citizen show that, over the past two years, Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy voting service, voted on behalf of U.C. against hundreds of resolutions that appeared to fall within the university’s guidelines.
The documents show that the university voted against nonbinding resolutions that would have encouraged companies to set goals for lower emissions of greenhouse gases, carry out policies prohibiting discrimination against individuals based on sex or sexual identity, report political contributions, form human rights committees and improve treatment of animals. The university voted against 188 such resolutions in 2008, and at least 50 in 2009.
Melvin Stanton, the university’s associate chief investment officer, said in an e-mail that U.C. focused primarily on growing its investments. Mr. Stanton added that no evidence existed of “a significant correlation between proposals brought by shareholders/activist groups and additional shareholder value,” on social or environmental issues.
“Our focus is doing what is best to improve the financial wherewithal of a particular company,” Mr. Stanton said in a telephone interview. “We’re not really focusing on social issues.”
But critics say the university is violating its own policy by failing to review issues touching on social responsibility and the environment before it votes against them.
Congratulations to REC Affiliate the UC Responsible Investments Coalition for getting major media coverage of this important issue! Once again we can see how the university's administration has a one-track mind on this issue. Voting your proxies certainly won't hurt the bottom line, and could definitely help it - but it is our job to make sure the fiduciaries see that.
By Brett Vetterlein, Community Investment Campaign Organizer
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Endowment transparency has been quite a buzzword in the student movement for the last few years, at least it seems to have become one since I joined the “movement” three years ago after becoming an activist at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY. And there’s good reason for that. The endowment is basically the savings account of the university, although instead of being invested in one bank, it is put in various banks, corporations, bonds, mutual funds, and other types of investments. The point of this institution, to put it simply, is to make money. The endowment gets returns on its investment, which can be used in the university’s operating budget, to hire new teachers, staff, to build new buildings, dorms, and athletic facilities, or just put back into the endowment and reinvested.
So why do we care? Because it’s our school, our reputation, and because our tuition is an investment in Fordham. And just like Fordham, we want to see our money used for the right purposes, so we want transparency. We want to know that Fordham isn’t invested in a company like BP, which caused major and most likely irreversible environmental damage to the Gulf Coast, or like Blackwater, the private military contractor which profits off of two unjust wars in the Middle East.
Instead of trying to find out what is in the endowment or where the budget is invested and then trying to change it, we think we have a better way. Why not just try to move the money ourselves out of the big corporate banks and into credit unions and community banks. This way, we know where a large portion of the university’s money is and we know its being used to promote social and economic justice.
Fordham is a private school and thus has no legal obligation to show us the endowment. Believe me, I’ve asked and the administration has no desire whatsoever to let us know how our and the university’s money is being used. Transparency movements are huge undertakings that usually end in compromise at best and a standstill or backpeddling of the campaign at worst. Ask the students from Take Back NYU, the New York University student group which occupied a building last year demanding transparency and wound up getting arrested, suspended, and almost expelled.
I believe we should have transparency, but I also know that here at Fordham University, at this point, that is next to impossible. On top of that, say we actually get transparency and find out Fordham is invested in a company with terrible environmental practices. Then we would have to launch a whole new campaign to either get our university to divest or to write up shareholder proxies and try to change the company within, both of which could be long and arduous processes. We’d have to organize two different movements simultaneously or one after another.
We want our money to be put to good use, so we should make sure it is by getting Fordham to take its money out of the big banks and put them into community ones. This practice is called community investment: getting Fordham to take its cash assets, mainly those of the endowment and of the operating budget (the “checking account” of the university used to pay wages, salaries, bills, and so on), out of whichever corporate bank it's invested in - Bank of America, Chase, etc., the same banks which helped cause our current economic recession, - and reinvest it into Community Development Financial Institutions, namely credit unions and community banks which specialize in providing financial services like loans and credit to individuals and small businesses from low-income communities.
By doing this we are accomplishing a number of things. First, because we got the money moved, we know where it is and what it is being used for. This empowers students and the university community by demonstrating that we have the power to put forth a productive and beneficial initiative with some of Fordham’s money, instead of simply watching it sit in the bank.
Second, we’ve done some good for people who needed help. Fordham is a university that seeks to create “men and women for others,” giving students the tools to make other people’s lives better. By Fordham investing its money in credit unions or community banks, we’ve provided a degree of economic empowerment to the Bronx, an area that has historically been disempowered on so many levels.
Finally, we sent a message to the corporate banks, the CEOs, and hedge fund managers. That message is that we don’t have to use your system. By moving our money we are challenging an economic system set up to only work for those at the top, while ignoring the rest of us. When we move our money we tell the big banks that if they won’t give us what we need we’ll find it elsewhere.
It is time to move beyond just transparency. If we want a more democratic university, if we want a better economic system, if we want justice for the Bronx, then we want community investment. We want Fordham to move its money away from the big banks and into our community.
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Is $5.3 million a reasonable yearly salary? Do you compare it to billions earned in endowment returns, or the hundreds of layoffs? A glimpse into the numbers from the Yale Daily News
As they have been for the past several years, Chief Investment Officer David Swensen GRD ’80 and his second-in-command, Dean Takahashi ’80 SOM ’83, were the two highest-paid employees at Yale in the 2008-’09 academic year, with investments director Alan Forman coming in fourth. Third on the list was University President Richard Levin, who, with $1.5 million in salary and benefits, made about a quarter more than he did the year before.
Swensen’s salary and benefits totaled $5.3 million last year, almost a quarter more than the $4.3 million he earned in the 2007-’08 academic year. His deputy, Takahashi, took home $3.5 million, a 35 percent raise from the year before.
What the filings do not make clear is how much exactly the investments officers took home in 2008-’09, since their compensation includes deferred bonuses they will be paid in the future as well as past deferred bonuses they have now been paid.
The two men’s bonuses were based on the endowment’s long-term performance prior to last year’s disastrous negative returns. Future bonuses for Investments Office employees will reflect last year’s losses. (Facing a $300 million budget gap, University officials postponed major construction projects, cut back on spending across Yale and laid off nearly 5 percent of its staff.)
But those same University administrators — who have defended Swensen’s strategy over the past year even as he remained quiet — say that while Swensen may be paid well, it is Yale that has benefited the most from his time here. At $16.3 billion, the most recent figure available, the endowment is still worth much more what it was when Swensen came to Yale in 1985: $1 billion.
On Wall Street or even at other universities, they say, the several million Swensen makes yearly would be a pittance for an investor as renowned as he is. Endowment managers at Harvard have earned as much as $35 million recently, dwarfing Swensen’s and Takahashi’s pay.
“Here’s a guy who could make 10 times his salary,” former deputy provost Charles Long said of Swensen last April. “But his goal is to make as much money as he can for Yale.”
How much is too much? Yale's endowment has increased by a factor of fifteen since 1985, adding on average nearly $1 billion each year
. And yet by taking home $5.3 million in a single year, even as budget cuts and layoffs hit the school, the #1 top earner is framed as someone who is making relatively little, "a guy who could make 10 times his salary."
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There have been a number of transitions, goodbyes, and new faces and opportunities at REC over the past few months. We've said goodbye not only to our former Organizing Director Cheyenna Weber, but a number of our fantastic student organizers have also stepped down. While Mary, Greg, Tahiya, Jay, and Maura will be missed - although still involved, and not forgotten! - I'm excited to finally have the chance to introduce to you our five new student organizers who are joining our team. Please join me in welcoming them!Chris Clem, Northwest Student Organizer
Chris is a sophomore at Seattle University
in Washington State. Currently he is a part of the Pre-Major program at SU, but is sure he wants to study something regarding social and environmental justice. Chris is a Sullivan Leadership Scholar at SU and is active in the Oxfam SU chapter, Student Leaders for the Common Good, as a tutor with the Children’s Literacy Project, and Leadership Coordinator for the Office of Leadership Development. This year, he looks forward to continuing work on socially responsible investment (SRI) issues at SU with trustees, university leaders, and students, as well as working with other surrounding schools that are interested in beginning SRI campaigns. Chris loves dancing, soccer, and musical theater, but he has a special affinity for experiencing other cultures through travel.Caroline Incledon, Community Investment Campaign Organizer
Caroline is a sophomore at Tufts University
with an anticipated political science major. She has participated in organizations such as Girls Learn International and Model UN, and is looking forward to her involvement this year at Tufts with PACT (Prevention, Awareness, and Consent at Tufts), a violence prevention program. In 2009, as part of an independent study project, Caroline and a friend took an in-depth look at 5 major New York public schools, and analyzed the impacts of poverty, segregation, and standardized testing. Their findings led Caroline to take a further interest in education reform and addressing inequality, and she is excited to work with REC to explore the ways in which socially responsible endowment policies can do this. In her spare time, Caroline enjoys spending time with friends and family and watching movies.Aurea Martinez, UC Responsible Investment Coalition Coordinator
Aurea Martinez is a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara
double majoring in English and Sociology. She has been involved with the University of California Student Association as the Campus Organizing Director in where she organized around issues of affordability and accessibility for students. She is very passionate about advocating for students rights and has spent two years organizing around the Dream Act. She enjoys meeting new people, trying new foods and is always jumping on new experiences. She also loves to read, dance and spend time with her family. She looks forward to working with the Responsible Endowments Coalition this year!Brett Vetterlein, Community Investment Campaign Organizer
Brett is a senior at Fordham University
in the Bronx, NY where he studies Sociology and History. Born and raised in New Jersey, he became politically active during his freshman year of college and currently organizes with Progressive Students for Justice and the Fordham Anti-War Coalition, focusing on issues of imperialism, war, and democratizing the university. For the past two summers he has interned with the New York Hotel Trades Council, a group of labor unions representing 30,000 hotel workers in NYC, and Beaudoin and Co., a lobbying group that does political work for the Teamsters Joint Council 16 and the Building and Construction Trades Council. He hopes to work as a union organizer after graduating from Fordham. Brett is also a member of the Organization for a Free Society, working to build a world based on solidarity, equity, self-management, diversity and ecological balance. In his free time, Brett does theatre and improvisational comedy, plays drums, watches movies, and dreams about a better world.Dave Warnock, Midwest Student Organizer
Dave is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis
, majoring in History. Born and raised i the New York area, he became involved in progressive activism in 2007, when he became involved in the anti-war movement. He has worked with Washington University Peace Coalition, and Students for Peaceful Palestinian-Israeli Future. He was a founding member of Washington University Students for Endowment Transparency, and plans to push for a Committee on Responsible Investing over the coming year. Dave's hobbies include karaoke, playing poker, and watching Rachel Maddow.