Sierra Student Coalition

Sierra Student Coalition

The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) is the student-run arm of the Sierra Club. Founded by Adam Werbach in 1991, with 14,000 members, it is likely the largest student-led environmental group in the United States.


The SSC is governed by a seven-member volunteer Executive Committee. The Ex-Com sets the national campaign priorities of the SSC and is responsible for allocating the annual budget, prioritizing national campaigns, and serving the volunteer membership and Chapter structure of the SSC. Every ExCom member also actively serves on a subcommittee, the venues where the rest of the SSC’s national activities are organized

The current SSC Excom, for 2007-2008, consists of Erica Stout, Andrew Nazdin, Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, Ty Dawson, Craig Altemose, David Sievers and Katherine Mceachern.

The Major subcommittees of ExCom include;

The Conservation Committee. Cons-Com is responsible for planning and developing the SSC’s national campaign priorities, including development of relevant campaign resources in coordination with SSC staff. The SSC’s current priority campaign is “Re-energize America!” which includes both the Campus Climate Challenge and Cool Cities campaigns. Each of these campaigns has a national strategy, but the campaign is designed to be run on college campuses or in your local community. Members of Cons-Com are available for consultation and support of campaigns run by SSC Chapters. Cons-Com includes all the Challenge Community Chairs of the SSC, students who have chosen to be a resource for other students in their area.

The Trainings Committee. Trainings-Com teaches the skills that the SSC’s member activists use to organize. In coordination with the SSC Trainings Director, the Trainings-Com is responsible for conducting 6 - 8 major workshops during the school year and another 5 - 7 during the summer. They also run workshops at regional and national conferences and train students who want to become trainers themselves. The Trainings-Com usually consists of between 3-5 members, at least one of whom also serves on ExCom.

The SSC also has two “support” departments. Outings help keep us inspired and healthy and Communications helps the SSC operate efficiently and openly. The Outings department organizes regional trips into the wilderness that are open to local SSC members. The Communications department maintains this astoundingly cool website, works with the Program Assistant to publish our monthly email newsletter, assists with media relations, and does graphic design work.


The lifeblood of the SSC is our nationwide network of Campus and Community Organizers. These organizers are the students on the ground who win the victories that advance the SSC and the student environmental movement. These two positions are probably the most important role that one can serve in the SSC.

Campus Organizers are charged with the responsibility of organizing effective SSC groups that run local campaigns on their high school or college campus. These local campaigns are usually consistent with SSC priority issue focus at the national and state-level (currently “Re-Energize America”).

Community Organizers are charged with the responsibility of bringing together existing SSC campus groups and group leaders and/or recruiting non-SSC groups to the SSC that are within a close geographic proximity (say for instance all of the campus groups in one city, like Seattle, WA or one county, like Montgomery County, MD). As one community these groups pursue a local campaign that is usually consistent with the SSC’s national issue focus. A community organizer position only becomes available once there are at least two functioning and registered SSC campus groups within a community to organize and coordinate. Community Organizers often utilize Sierra Club as a recruitment partner.

A Chapter Organizing Team (or State ExCom) is formed when there are multiple campus groups or community campaigns that have a compelling reason to work together on a common state-wide campaign. The Chapter Organizing Team is simply a collection of the Community Organizers throughout a state. The team is charged with the responsibility of mentoring Campus Organizers by planning state trainings or conferences and assisting in the implementation of national or state level SSC campaigns in their community. The Chapter Organizing Team consists of up to 7 Community Organizers (representing communities in states) who each run the state-level campaign in their respective community.

A Chapter Organizing Chair is elected by the Chapter Organizing Team to serve as its representative to SSC National and to coordinate state level organizing efforts. In lieu of a Chapter Chair, a Community Organizer may serve as the representative to the SSC National. A chair position will only become available once there are at least two community organizers in a state and six active campus groups that want coordination.

Priority Campaign: The Campus Climate Challenge

The Campus Climate Challenge is a project of more than 30 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Sierra Student Coalition. The Challenge leverages the power of young people to organize on college campuses and high schools across Canada and the U.S. to win 100% Clean Energy policies at their schools. The goal of the Challenge is to grow a generation-wide movement to stop global warming, by reducing carbon emmissons from their high schools and colleges down to zero, and leading society to a clean energy future.

[ Sierra Student Coalition Website]

[ Campus Climate Challenge Website]

This summer the Sierra Student Coalition is working, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the US Steelworkds Union, in New Hampshire and Iowa to reach out to citizens to call for action now to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and to create 2 million new jobs in a clean energy economy. With our ReEnergizeUS campaign, we're holding two major marches that will end in two of the largest demonstrations demanding clean energy NOW! Sign up to join us on the ReEnergizeUS website.

[ ReEnergizeUS Website]

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