Presentation on theme: "Danny Katz – Director of CoPIRG, former Field Director for CALPIRG’s Prop 1A High Speed Rail Campaign."— Presentation transcript:
Danny Katz – Director of CoPIRG, former Field Director for CALPIRG’s Prop 1A High Speed Rail Campaign
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
Why organize students? What resources can they bring? Best ways to mobilize them Challenges
Young people leading the trend away from driving according to CoPIRG report – Transportation and the New Generation ◦ Between 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 ◦ Between , young people rode public transit 40% more, travelled via bike 24% more and walked 16% more to destination.
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
According to research firm Gartner, 46% of drivers between would choose internet access over owning a car In a survey by MTV of 3,000 “millennials” – born , about preferred brands, no carmaker made it into the top 10. Replaced by Google and Nike.
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.
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
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
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
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
Campaign’s Best Tool
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
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 ◦ ◦ Text/call ◦ Events on campus
500 College students on 15 campuses sent initial message via their networks First Degree ◦ 166,014 ed ◦ 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.
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