Three members of Fossil Free university groups in New Zealand went to a training for students involved in divestment campaigns. This was the experience of Erica from Fossil Free University of Auckland.

By Erica Finnie

In July, Charlie, Jess and I travelled to Sydney to take part in the first training workshop for the 6 month Fossil Free Fellowship. This was a week of intensive workshops run by 350 Australia focused around community organising. We had specific workshops around telling our own stories and the story of our campaigns, building relationships, tactics, strategy and timelines. This introduction to the fellowship has given us the foundations to build strategic divestment campaigns in New Zealand that are grounded in theory.

The training has helped me to identify my own strengths and develop these to take a stronger leadership role in the University of Auckland divestment campaign. My greatest learning has been how to tell my personal story of why I care about climate change. I have spent a lot of time since the training reflecting on why I stay involved with 350, and learning to articulate this to others to motivate them to get involved.

We’ve put a number of my learnings into practice and had a hugely successful start to semester, with 67 new members and a strong core team of over 20 volunteers. We want to grow a sustainable network of young climate activists on campus, and provide skills and ongoing training to run a successful divestment campaign.

Erica Fellowship