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Danny Katz – Director of CoPIRG, former Field Director for CALPIRG’s Prop 1A High Speed Rail Campaign.

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Presentation on theme: "Danny Katz – Director of CoPIRG, former Field Director for CALPIRG’s Prop 1A High Speed Rail Campaign."— Presentation transcript:

1 Danny Katz – Director of CoPIRG, former Field Director for CALPIRG’s Prop 1A High Speed Rail Campaign

2  Statewide, non-partisan public interest advocacy group  Started by college students in 1974 – still have vibrant college student organizing program  Across country – 26 State PIRG’s make up a Federation or USPIRG  Forefront of many local transportation ballot initiatives and statewide rail work

3  Why organize students?  What resources can they bring?  Best ways to mobilize them  Challenges

4  Young people leading the trend away from driving according to CoPIRG report – Transportation and the New Generation ◦ Between 2000-2010 we’ve seen VMT peak in America and begin to decline. In last five years, average American drove 6% fewer miles than in 2004 ◦ In 2009, young people (16-34) drove 20% fewer miles than 2001. ◦ Between 2001-2009, young people rode public transit 40% more, travelled via bike 24% more and walked 16% more to destination.

5  Gas prices and cost ◦ Though less than you think  Changes in driving laws  Technology ◦ Social networking replaces car trip ◦ Transit aps on smart phones make accessing transit easier ◦ Rise of car share/bike share programs ◦ Rather be on computer/phone than driving

6  According to research firm Gartner, 46% of drivers between 18-24 would choose internet access over owning a car  In a survey by MTV of 3,000 “millennials” – born 1981-2000, about preferred brands, no carmaker made it into the top 10. Replaced by Google and Nike.

7  Two Basic Groupings ◦ College Students ◦ Non-College Students  College students tend to be a lot easier to organize and bring more resources so CoPIRG has mainly focused efforts on organizing them.

8  Volunteer pool/People power  Time/Energy - (despite misconception)  Idealism/Forefront of social change  Money – 20,000 small donors adds up  Access to university resources – faculty expertise, rooms, technology (video cameras and editing rooms), free printing  Centralized voting bloc – steady increase in youth vote since 2000 – but they need a reason

9  Youth are hip and cool and attract VIPs  Social media leaders (don’t overrate this).  College students often have free/discounted bus passes and use transit so have stories/good spokespeople  College students come from everywhere ◦ Many commute to school or commute home so have friends/family in other places of the city/state/country

10  Peer to peer  Be visionary ◦ Don’t underestimate the power of a map  Cast a wide net ◦ Go to campus – table, poster, use social media, present in classes ◦ Don’t forget community colleges  Provide real leadership opportunities  Don’t forget the social in “social change” ◦ Work through existing friend networks first ◦ 9pm-11pm is the new 9to5 ◦ Tactics can be fun with a little creativity

11  November of 2008 vote  $9 billion bond to pay for start of $45 billion project to connect California with high speed rail  30+ years to build  Grasstops support but no campaign money – “distractions” = Obama/McCain, Prop 8 gay rights initiative  No paid media  Economy begins to tank

12 Campaign’s Best Tool

13  50 students travelled the state by car and bike stopping at the proposed stations along the way  Raised awareness for HSR – message = I’d Rather Be Riding High Speed Rail  Press events at each stop = 11 in total generating 43 stories  VIPs came and spoke at events – Congressmembers, mayors, legislators, Governor’s staff  Totally fun – Giant train costume, camping




17  October 28 th – Social Network Day of Action  Play off Six Degrees of Separation and Kevin Bacon game ◦ If we can get to Kevin Bacon, then we’ll wind up educating millions of people on the way there so forward this until Kevin Bacon gets it  Use all forms of social networking – spread the simple message to your friends and family. ◦ Facebook ◦ Email ◦ Text/call ◦ Events on campus

18  500 College students on 15 campuses sent initial message via their networks  First Degree ◦ 166,014 emailed ◦ 47,384 contacted via Facebook ◦ 5,871 text messages ◦ 3,529 conversations at table or over phone  Failed to track Second, Third, Fourth degree BUT ◦ Generated more media ◦ Anecdotally know that lots of people outside the network got the messages that had been forwarded.

19  Reward comes with risk ◦ For every student who comes through, some will bag  Money has begun to outweigh grassroots – devalues students’ strength  Students on the move ◦ Need to constantly register them to vote, replace with new volunteers  Social media is still unproven as vote tools  Volunteer-driven can get “messy”  Cost of higher education = students can’t vol.  Campus red tape

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