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10 tips for running a student climate campaign

Words by Smiley Team

You’re young, passionate and determined to save the world. But if you’re also a student, how do you organise yourself alongside your studies?

To overcome the obstacle of endless assignments, there are a number of ways to drive forward positive change efficiently. Once you’ve gained capacity, climate action within your place of education can be a brilliantly effective way to make a difference. 

Already the world has seen the impact of Fridays for Future’s school strikes, from which activists have spoken before the UN. Following in their footsteps, you too can help create a greener future. To do so, here are some top tips for how to run your own student climate campaign.

Establish your goals

Climate change covers a whole range of different issues that you could help resolve. Within your school, college or university, there are all kinds of goals you can pick that are specific to educational establishments. Do you want your school to divest from fossil fuels, will you ditch plastic from the canteen, or do you want solar panels on the rooves?

Bear in mind that you don’t have to come up with your own. You could also support an existing charity or organisation.

Do your research

Browse your library or trusted sources online to discover more about your chosen cause. It’s useful to keep a folder of all the resources you encounter to share with others.

Form a student society

Once you’ve settled on goals and you fully grasp the issues, chat with your classmates till you form a solid group to help launch the campaign. The best way to officialise your objectives is to go via your student union and create a student society. You’ll need to email your student representatives or check the union’s website to find out how to apply.

Design a strategy

Next, you need to know how you’re going to achieve your goals. Create a timeline and pick dates for events that you intend to organise. Keep it realistic and work around any important study dates such as exam period and assignment deadlines. You may also wish to set up weekly or biweekly meetings with your group.

Launch digitally

It’s particularly useful if you can find a tech whizz amongst your classmates. Because a website and social media pages are crucial for the campaign to get noticed. You’ll also need someone with writing skills to populate your online sites with information.

Get in the news

Ideally, you should aim to get coverage in your student paper, as well as any other student media outlets. Contact the editors and send them a press release detailing what your campaign involves and include facts as well as quotes from key campaigners about why it matters to them so much. You may also need to prepare for radio interviews so swat up on relevant facts and speaking skills.

Spread the word

Another good starting point to build support would be to hold a stall in a busy area of your campus. Print out leaflets to distribute on the street and perhaps design a catchy social media campaign. For example, you might take photos of passersby holding a placard that shows their support.

Recruit a supportive professor

You’re sure to discover at least one member of staff who will support your cause. Their help can be invaluable in spreading the word and navigating your school’s policies. They might also have campaign experience themselves and be able to put you in touch with expert speakers for campaign events.

Organise events

Reach out to speakers for talks or panel discussions on the climate issues that matter most to you. Alternatively, host exciting events for you and your peers to put the fun in fundraising.

Have fun!

Most importantly, make this complementary to your studies. If you’ve got your head in books all day, you’ll need to enjoy yourself in order to keep the momentum up. Get creative and organise events that will make you and other students happy while you support a vital cause.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Support students around the world campaigning against climate change. Donate to Fridays for Future.

SUPPORT: To join millions of young people working towards a better world, join Fridays for Future.

GET INVOLVED: SOS-UK is a charity that believes education can bring about that change. It's a student-led education charity focusing on sustainability.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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