REC's Fall Updates

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We are thrilled to share updates on a number of exciting events, projects, and campaigns at REC!



This past summer, REC was able to launch its International Solidarity Program (ISP) to the Philippines with fossil fuel divestment organizers from across the country. Join us on October 19 to hear about the trip in New York City over a traditional Filipino kamayan dinner. We’ll celebrate U.S. student movements, solidarity with international grassroots struggles, and REC’s role supporting the development of U.S. student activists since 2004. RSVP here and get your Kamayan tickets today!  




This September, we are hosting the University Wealth Hoarding & the U.S. Student Debt Crisis: A Report & Roundtable in New York City this October. Tuition at U.S. colleges and universities has climbed to astronomical heights​, forcing millions of young working class people to assume huge amounts of debt for the mere right to compete in living wage job markets​.  What is the ​significance of wealthy endowments in the context of the student debt crisis and inflationary tuition? How should endowments be used to aid this crisis​? What is the impact of university wealth hoarding on the future of higher education? If you’d like to participate, please email us at .




We are incredibly excited to announce Unconference 2016, which will be taking place in NYC on Oct. 21-23!  This event is the only student-led space focused on fossil fuel and prison divestment, solidarity, and endowment justice.  This convergence will bring together the Fossil Fuel Divestment and Prison Divestment movements to build a foundation for shared tactics and analysis.  Apply today!


To cap off the summer, our signature program, the Summer Organizing Retreat, was the biggest cohort we ever hosted! Student organizers from across North America came together to discuss endowment campaigning and how to build a strong foundation in endowment organizing. Led by trainers from our own Training for Trainers program, participants honed their ability to set demands, facilitate, plan direct actions, create political education modules, and deepen coalition building.



After winning a landmark case, we congratulate the Columbia University graduate students, who may now unionize after the National Labor Relations Board ruled in their favor after a two-year battle.

Also, Nikita Perumal, REC's Summer Organizing intern, wrote about the ways other climate justice organizers can change the current conversation on carbon reserves to shift our demands amidst our recent movement wins. 



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Notes on the Recent Department of Justice Decision To Move Not Renew Private Prison Contracts



Notes on the Recent Department of Justice Decision To Move Not Renew Private Prison Contracts

Photo:  (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

The Department of Justice announced on August 18 that it will begin transitioning away from federally contracted private prisons, essentially transitioning around 22,000 individuals currently caged in 13 for-profit facilities to publicly funded cages. This perplexing decision is not entirely unprecedented, as seen in New York and Illinois, which both passed legislation prohibiting the outsourcing of prison maintenance work to private corporations a few years ago. Within the first few hours of the announcement, reactions across the spectrum, and new demands surfaced. In my role as REC’s prison divestment organizer, it’s been hard not to feel a wave of emotion over the news, and still be skeptical about its implications.

So who won?

Winning isn’t one dimensional - we don’t engage in struggle, push for - what some believe are - reformist policies with radical principles and feel like we’ve achieved our end goal. Criminalization and incarceration have been tools for white, capitalist America for years, and although privatization flourished in the early 80s with the creation of GEO and CCA, incarceration and criminalization can be traced back all the way to this country's colonization.

This doesn’t mean that the DOJ’s announcement doesn’t create a real (material) shift, even in the way we think tactically about our work. Nor does it mean that organizations and grassroots groups haven’t been pushing for years to get to the point where profiting off of criminalization is publicly unacceptable or that this decision is completely removed from that pressure. Understanding the spectrum of reactions is important in how we, people fighting against the prison industrial complex in this country, formulate our next steps and work within a number of new possibilities. 

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#AllinForImpact is Offering Scholarships


Are you searching for a profession that aligns your personal values with your desire for a career in finance?


Do you feel you need help identifying what roles exist in the impact investing industry and how to get your foot in the door?

We are happy to share that our partners from The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing are offering scholarships to the 27th Annual SRI Conference. This year, #AllInForImpact takes place at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Denver November 9–11, 2016. Apply at this link by Sept. 18, 2016 for consideration.

Read more about the scholarship.



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Looking Beyond Carbon Reserves: the Violence of International Fossil Fuel Extraction

Looking Beyond Carbon Reserves: the Violence of International Fossil Fuel Extraction

During my summer at REC (in between an organizing retreat, joint projects, and conversations with my incredible coworkers), I spent a large chunk of my time exploring how fossil fuel companies don’t just create climate change—they also perpetuate global violence through the very process of carbon extraction. Along with my findings inevitably comes another realization: we cannot fight for climate justice, or against the human rights abuses of the fossil fuel industry, without also fighting relentlessly against systems of imperialism and neoliberal free trade.

Nikita at REC's Summer Organizing Retreat in July 2016

The typical “international” perspective of climate justice goes like this: The countries that are most responsible for climate change are rarely those who feel the brunt of climate impacts—and, vice versa, historically low carbon-emitting communities are the ones that overwhelmingly and disproportionately face the devastation of climate change. These include countries from the Global South and formerly colonized countries–which are disproportionately poorer and often house communities of color. The 52 small island developing states (SIDS), for instance, collectively emit less than 1% of global greenhouse gases, yet are considered canaries in the coal mine for climate injustices like threatened food and water security, potential displacement, the devastation that accompanies intensifying storms, and fundamental threats to land-based identities and cultures.



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To Orlando with Love



With heavy hearts, REC sends our condolences and solidarity to the Orlando community, especially the family and friends of the Pulse nightclub victims who were fatally shot on Sunday, June 13. We condemn this horrible massacre of primarily queer/trans people of color in the largest mass shooting the modern United States has ever seen. We grieve with you, we see you, and our hearts are with you.


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Summer Organizing Retreat 2016

Applications Are Open For RECs 2016 Summer Organizing Retreat!

Join REC  for our Summer Organizing Retreat! This is a place for students to come together to gain skills and knowledge about organizing an endowment campaign, confronting corporate power, and developing strategies for winning.



REC will be hosting a weeklong Summer Organizing Retreat, for students to come together and discuss endowment campaigning, corporate power, deepen their campaigning skills. This program builds a strong foundation in endowment organizing, confronting neoliberalism in higher education, and non-extractive finance. Over the course of a week, participant will get a deep dive into everything from setting demands, facilitation, direct action planning, political education and coalition building.

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Prison Divestment Youth Retreat 2016

Students protest UC funding of private prisons (Photo via Common Dreams) Via La Cartita | March 24, 2016
This summer the third annual National Prison Divestment Youth Retreat will bring together youth from across the country who recognize that, in order to address the criminalization of communities of color and the systematic harassment of immigrants, we must confront the private interests supporting racist, anti-immigrant and pro-incarceration policies. The retreat will be a space to gain the organizing tools needed to grow successful prison divestment campaigns on our campuses and in our communities. We will learn about legal and financial systems; build relationships with fellow youth as well as movement elders; develop national divestment strategy; and build the national youth-led movement against for-profit prisons that strives for prison abolition and a just immigration system.

The location and dates should be finalized soon. Fill out the Prison Divestment Youth Retreat Interest Form if you would like us to send you the registration form when all the logistics have been finalized!


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An Alum's Thoughts on UMW's Divestment Victory


On April 15, 2015, 17 University of Mary Washington students and I exited the administrative building that we had been occupying for 21 days. We joined hundreds of our peers who gathered behind a wall of VA state troopers. Chants started as two students and a community member were pulled into the back of a paddy wagon with shackles around their ankles. The UMW administration, along with the board, had ordered us to end our sit-in an hour before in a drastic statement of defiance to the campus community’s continued demands for fossil fuel divestment.


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Summer 2016 Interns

Our staff with former REC interns

We're looking for two Organizing Interns this summer to work at our office in Downtown Brooklyn.  Submit your cover letter and resume by May 16, 2016.

Find out more by checking out the description at CONNECT > Jobs & Volunteering

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APRIL 22, 2016

Nina Macapinlac, New Jersey Prison Divest

(973) 641-9735,



Newark, NJ – Members of New Jersey Prison Divest, a newly formed coalition of community and student organizations, rallied today outside of the Newark Residential Reentry Center, which is owned by GEO Group Inc., the second largest private prison corporation in the country. This rally marked the launch of the coalition’s campaign against mass incarceration and criminalization in New Jersey.

Made up of 15 community and student organizations working on issues around immigrant rights and criminal justice, New Jersey Prison Divest held a community speak-out in front of the halfway house. Representatives who spoke included those from Pax Christi, New Jersey Communities United, Wind of the Spirit, Paul Robeson Prison Divestment at Rutgers University, and People’s Organization for Progress. These speeches included direct experiences of those who were formerly incarcerated or affected by criminalization and mass incarceration.

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