My 2012: What & Why
It looks like Zach and I will be featured in the summer issue of Eugene Magazine in the It List: 30 People to Watch article. That’s pretty awesome! Our dearest friend, Kai was the awesome fellow who recommended us for our work with the Climate Justice League, and I’m honored to accept the recognition.
Below are the interview questions and my responses.
I love what I wrote because it concisely tells the story of what I’m putting my energy into, why I’m doing that, and how I got here. Enjoy.
Title, a little bit about the work you do
Founder of RallyRoom.net
I’m building RallyRoom to empower activists and organizers to create solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges.
My generation is going to live through a number of radical disruptions in the way our society is organized. In order for this to be a time of beautiful growth, it’s our responsibility to create solutions for our communities.
After co-founding the Climate Justice League at the University of Oregon, I realized just how hard it was to keep teams on the same page and motivated toward our goals. We were great at organizing people, but important information was falling through the cracks, tasks weren’t getting completed, members were confused and disengaged, and we weren’t able to reach our goals as effectively as we desired.
Fed up with all of that chaos, and armed with a bunch web development experience, I set out on a journey to build RallyRoom so my fellow activists could stop worrying about organizing their team and get back to changing the world. RallyRoom takes care of tasks, reminders, meeting notes, and serves as a home for your team to gather around
When I’m not working my day job developing web apps at Concentric Sky downtown, I’m devoting all of my time to planning, designing, testing, and building RallyRoom. And I plan to have it in the hands of change-makers by the end of the year. Sign up at http://rallyroom.net if you’d like to test it out with your teams.
Briefly, how did you get started in this line of work?
Two years into a computer science degree at the University of Oregon, I found myself in a course on Social Inequalities. The course showed me parts of our society that I was aware of, but had the privilege to pay little attention to: race, gender, economic, and environmental inequalities. I realized I needed to make a choice to answer this call and address the social and environmental choices or remain silent. The next term, I changed my major to Environmental Studies and devoted my time, energy, and passion to create a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all.
Through this community, I found passionate, devoted, authentic people; learned how to have a bold vision, set specific goals, and be strategic in bringing them into reality; and saw how to treat each day as an opportunity to create solutions to the problems I saw in the world.
Zach Stark-MacMillan and I used our new skills to found The Climate Justice League at the University of Oregon. We built a structure that engaged students in actively creating the world they wanted to see: stopping bottled water sales on campus, responsibly investing the University of Oregon’s money, making the University carbon-neutral, and stopping the proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. Our philosophy is to do everything 50% better/bigger than we have to. And it shows: the group has 30-50 active members each term, has accomplished a number of goals, and has earned a lot of respect across campus.
What inspires you to do the work you do?
I’m deeply energized and motivated by the community of activists and organizers, younger and older, whom I’m able to work. Their hopeful visions for the future fuels mine. Lately, the Occupy movement has been a great source of inspiration for me: it demonstrates that people are willing to actively resist the current destructive trends our system has created and directly create new ways of living.
What is one of the best things about living in Lane County?
The best thing about living in Lane County is the Homemade Veggie Burger at The Humble Beagle. That, and the alternative living culture that Eugene is known for.
What are you looking forward to doing this summer in Eugene?
This summer, I’m stoked to continue a tradition I’ve had going for a few years: giving “free hugs” at the main exit to the Oregon Country Fair for the last couple hours before the fair closes each day. Giving that many hugs to that many amazing people is the most joyous experience I know of. Come find me if you’ll be there.