Lots of people care about the future of our country, but not all of them are as active or effective as they could be. There are just too few institutions that help inspire, train, and nurture progressive activists. That’s why I’m so excited about Antioch University New England’s Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program. It’s a graduate program that offers in-depth activist training and even connects its graduates into an ongoing support network. I encourage everyone seeking to work as a public interest advocate or a grassroots organizer to check out Antioch’s advocacy and organizing program.
Executive Director, MoveOn.Org
The Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program at Antioch University New England is not just a unique two-year training program for environmental activists. It is also an ongoing activist network of faculty, graduates, and current students who support each other for the long haul.
This fall, as the EAOP welcomed its fifth cohort of activists-in-training, the program launched an alumni blog to help keep students and faculty connected after graduation and also organized the first bi-annual EAOP network gathering in Maine, on the weekend of September 16-17. According to EAOP faculty member Abi Abrash Walton, “We envisioned this first network gathering as a great opportunity for EAOPers from all five years of the program to get together to catch up, network, and be inspired by each other.”
As an additional treat, Eli Pariser, the Executive Director of MoveOn.org, joined the gathering as a guest speaker on how to organize the “netroots” into a powerful force for positive social change. The EAOP was thrilled to have a speaker of Pariser’s caliber. Eli first joined MoveOn in November of 2001, after his independent, web-based petition for a multi-lateral response to the events of 9/11 received overwhelming support from the online community. He then directed MoveOn’s campaign against the Iraq War, tripling MoveOn’s member base in the process. MoveOn.org now has 3.2 million members who have helped elect progressive candidates, have worked to protect social security from privatization, and have successfully defended net neutrality. EAOP students and graduates were deeply impressed by Pariser, and he with them.
Steve Chase, the founding director of the EAOP, says “Eli recognizes the importance of what we are trying to do here at Antioch. By building an ongoing network of EAOP-trained activists, advocates, and organizers, we can make a stronger contribution than just being a program that lets its graduates scatter with no organized way to keep in touch with each other–or with the current students and EAOP faculty. We believe that we are all in this work together and we want to support each other long after students complete their master’s program in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing.”
Photos by Steve Kowal, EAOP ’06