The Campus Network

As climate change accelerates and inequality continues to drag down an already stagnant economy, we are faced with the sobering conclusion that the current system isn’t working.   We then must ask ourselves a difficult question: what are the alternatives?

Young people are poised to inherit this planet, with all of its unprecedented challenges. More than any generation, this is their battle. That means that they must lead the movement toward solutions. It is time for a student movement for a New Economy.

In 2013, through our Campus Network program, we are working directly with 14 campus groups across North America who are hosting "strategic summits on the New Economy" on their campuses and in their communities. In addition to financial support, we are providing these young leaders with trainings, access to our networks, and on-going support.

The goal of these summits is to raise awareness about the New Economy on college campuses, build meaningful collaborations between students and their local communities, and lay the groundwork for building a just and sustainable economy. The hope is that this will catalyze a nationwide movement among college students and create a powerful network of student leaders committed to building the New Economy.

Soon after we announced this project in November 2012, we received a torrent of inquiries from students and young people around the country. In total, we received more than 70 letters of interest and nearly 40 final proposals. We were blown away by the dozens of detailed plans we received for exciting events and projects to engage campuses and communities in the work of building the New Economy.

We are proud to support the following student-led events:


Building The New Economy Speaker Series

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. - Ongoing

New Economy MIT is hosting a series of public lectures and workshops throughout the semester aimed at connecting scholars, practitioners, and community members on issues of localism, alternative models for consumption and ownership, steady state economics, and ecological sustainability.  Speakers include Neva Goodwin, Bob Massie, Girgios Kallis, Juliet, Schor, and Gar Alperovitz.  All talks livestreamed through the NEI youtube page.


Power Up: Divest Fossil Fuels

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore PA – February 22-24, 2013

From February 22 to 24, nearly 200 students from 77 colleges across the US and Canada came together at Swarthmore College for Power Up! Divest Fossil Fuels, a student-organized convergence of youth activists working to divest their colleges’ endowments from fossil fuel companies. While college administrations have largely been hostile towards divestment, student campaigns have been gaining attention nationwide with petitions, referendums, public art displays and rallies, and students are ready to escalate their campaigns by putting more pressure on administrations through direct action. This convergence was a fantastic opportunity for students from across the country to meet, share skills and develop strategy to grow their powerful national movement.


Beyond Divestment: Money and Finance For A Living Economy

Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT – March 6, 2013

Conservative economists have long propagated the idea that capitalism is a self-regulating system that corrects its own mistakes through impersonal forces. However, in recent years financial crises, the threat of climate change, and growing inequality have all cast this theory into doubt.  Yet, what alternatives exist?  Those working for fossil fuel divestment contend that enlightened institutions can help avert catastrophe by factoring ethical and ecological concerns into their investment decisions.  Surely though, this is only part of the answer and it begs the question “how else might we reorganize money and finance as a means to an end rather than an end in itself?”

Beyond Divestment is a day-long summit which seeks to create space for the Middlebury community to explore the kinds of economic alternatives that are springing up all over the world.  Join innovators in the areas of alternative currencies, time banking, impact investing, financial system regulation and reform, and “New Economy” coalition building. Bring your own friends and neighbors for a conversation about how we can sow the seeds of a better, more life-affirming, economy.  Featuring Bill McKibben, Bob Massie, John Fullerton, Deneene Brockington, and more.


Spokane New Economy Summit

Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA – April 4-6, 2013

The Spokane New Economy Summit seeks to promote ideas and strategies for a stronger and more sustainable regional economy and to catalyze support for action.

The Inland Northwest is as an idyllic place to live and work. This reality is being slowly discovered by those outside the area, and we find ourselves on the verge of an economic revitalization. The time is now to prioritize a triple bottom line of profit, people and planet in order to ensure that future development will be sustainable and equitable. Many in our community already recognize the value of these key concepts and are putting them into practice. We seek to bring together students, small business owners, farmers, and community members to discuss new ways of thinking about and participating in our economy.  We hope to facilitate discussions on topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to community banking to economics education; and to create space for networking, collaborating, and building momentum towards a more prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Spokane.


New Economy Summit at University of British Columbia

University Of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC April 4-6, 2013

We want to change the structure of Canada’s economy to prioritize human well-being and a healthy ecosystem while ending economic stagnation. As climate change accelerates, inequality increases and the imperatives of global finance are driving speculative bubbles, we want to formulate a new approach to economic thinking. Because our political system hasn’t addressed an economic structural change, can Canada’s universities jump start transition to a new economy?

This will be a gathering of people who understand there’s something fundamentally wrong with the current economic system and pioneers who are already building a new economy. We invite students from universities across the region, citizens and organizations who are interested in building momentum for this movement.


Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. – April 4-6, 2013

Appalachian State University is located in Watauga County, which experiences high unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity rates as well as an economic dependence on fossil fuels.  Student organizers in concert with allies from across the state are creating space to talk about a transition to a more sustainable, local economy, and aim to bridge the gap between the university and community by hosting platforms for dialogue, leadership development, and networking between New Economy thinkers, local businesses, activists, students, and stewards of the commons. 


Universities For A New Economy

The New School, New York, NY. – April 13, 2013

On April 13th, 2013, the Universities for a New Economy conference at the New School for Social Research (NSSR) will investigate the particular role universities can play in promoting a shift towards a more democratic and socially and ecologically sustainable economic system. Organized by the NSSR Economics Student Union, the conference will bring together academic, organizational and grassroots leaders from the new-economy movement for a series of informative panels and interactive workshops.

Participants will leave equipped with a deeper knowledge of some commonly discussed “new-economy” concepts and empowered with a practical understanding of steps they can take to transform universities into engines of economic system change. The conference will ideally help launch a broader, continuing discussion about progressive economics change in the world of higher education, and inspire advocacy in this direction. It will likewise mark an opportunity for new-economy organizations and institutions such as worker-owned and self-directed enterprises to begin building relationships with the New School and broader NYC university community.


Cultivating a New Food Economy: Putting People and Planet First

Tufts University, Medford, MA.- April 13th, 2013

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the barrage of negativity surrounding our food systems?  Daily we are made aware of food-related problems damaging our economy, our health, and our earth. The new economy framework, defined as an economic system that prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet, offers a different lens to view the food system: one that is cooperative, environmentally friendly, socially just, and sustainable. This summit will engage participants in critical analysis, cooperation, and innovation through a day-long series of speakers, workshops, and community connectivity. This interactive and engaging event will take place on April 13th at Tufts University, presented in conjunction with the Tufts UEP Practical Visionaries Workshop and the New Economics Institute. The summit will showcase Boston-based leaders, organizations, and businesses that are leading the way. Please join us for a day of discussion about our food, our economy, and our planet.


Connecting The Dots: Pathways To A New Economy

Clark University, Worcester, MA. – April 19, 2013

Connecting The Dots seeks to develop pathways to a new economy for the City of Worcester by highlighting organizations and contributing stakeholders who are leading the way for this movement. This summit will provide an opportunity to engage the Clark and Worcester community of students, faculty, practitioners, and experts in an exchange of ideas, evidenced-based practices, and available resources.


Cooperation, Community, and Complexity: Imagining A New Economy For The 21st Century

College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME. – April 20-21, 2013

There is a harrowing truth in knowing that the world is growing ever more complex with each passing day and that each new dawn brings us new challenges. And yet the world is also becoming smaller in relative terms, more interconnected, and more interdependent. Students, academics, and civic activists all around the world are now beginning to join forces and give rise to a global community of forward-thinking individuals ready to tackle the hardest issues of our times, such as climate change, international inequity and inequality, and the fragile global economy.

This conference will host a variety of speakers, activities, and workshops focusing on both the potentials for radical change in the formal study of economics and the more informal, yet practical sorts of activism that can help foster the growth of a new set of ideas that we can use to build a strong foundation for our future.


Youth Power Summit 2013: Cultivating a Just and Sustainable Community

Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY. – April 20-21, 2013

"The Youth Power Summit 2013 aims to create a space in which students, community members, campus faculty, and local business leaders will converge to explore the intersections of economic, social, and climate justice issues and develop the tools, organizing strategies, and collective framework to actively pursue a vision for a just, sustainable, and prosperous community. We believe that realizing this vision demands genuine systematic transformation that puts freedom from discrimination and equal access to decision-making at the center of resilient and equitable social, economic, and cultural institutions. We aim to investigate strategies to realize this vision through open dialogue, building a sense of community, and empowering young people to reframe the conversation around climate change so that climate justice is one strategy among many that seek broader and deeper justice in the creation of a sustainable and peaceful world."


Vermont New Economy Series

The University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. – April 27, 2013

The Vermont New Economy Series is designed to increase awareness and promote action on four New Economic themes: the reconstruction of healthcare, cooperative ownership models, responsible investment/fossil fuel divestment, and the financing of the New Economy. United by the umbrella theme of ownership, the series recognizes that new models  of ownership are necessary if people are to assert their influence as stakeholders in our economy. Vermont plays a unique role as a human-scale laboratory for transformative initiatives with the potential to inspire broad change. The Owning Our New Economy summit on April 27 will further increase Vermont’s capacity to successfully implement these initiatives by strengthening the working relationships between various New Economy campaigns currently underway in the state and beyond."


Catalyzing the Commonwealth: Cooperative Economics, Sustainability, and Civic Engagement

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. – May 3, 2013

"The core of the vision that animates our work is that movements for civic engagement, cooperative commonwealth economics, and sustainability must be joined.  While these initiatives are too-often carried on in ways that are insufficiently integrated, we believe that the solvability of each requires moving on the other fronts simultaneously.  Based on our experiences at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and in conversations we are having with others across the U.S., we believe that there are untapped transformative powers that we can unleash when we join these initiatives.  They draw different constituencies together and allow us to form a vision and set of practices that can overcome key blockages (e.g., how can we make progress on new economics without a re-energized democracy?  How can we re-energize democracy without an economic vision that supports rather than undermines it?  And how can we do any of this unless we address the prospect of planetary ecological catastrophe?)

Because NAU is integrating all of these efforts, and because we are well connected to broad national initiatives, we believe our work can help catalyze a powerful national movement, on and off campuses.  We see this as a strategic opportunity to increase the volume of, and broaden the already vibrant conversation surrounding sustainability, civic engagement, and cooperative enterprise in Flagstaff by synergizing local partners with national networks. The majority of the summit will be sessions and workshops that encourage idea sharing, partnerships, and momentum building.  This summit is a moment in a larger project that will continue on, part of an ongoing and long-term commitment to build a local cooperative network and national participation."

reRoute: Building Youth and Student Power for a New Economy

New York University, New York, NY. -July 19-21, 2013

Organized directly by NEI, this event will bring together experienced New Economy visionaries with student and youth leaders from across North America to strengthen our systemic thinking, share best practices on developing democratic and regenerative enterprises, and build power to transform our schools and communities into places we can be proud of.


North Carolina Statewide Student New Economy Convergence

Fall 2013 – More Info TBA               


If you’d like more information about any of these events please contact our Campus Network Organizing Team.

Finally, make sure you join our email list to receive updates on the Campus Network and other programs of the New Economics Institute.

Rachel Plattus, Mike Sandmel, and Emma Beals
The Campus Network Organizing Team