The Ohio University chapter of NextGen Climate met Thursday afternoon to discuss its upcoming week’s strategy for canvassing, registering millennial voters and collecting committed voter cards.
The national organization aims to mobilize millennial voters to help elect candidates who support radical climate change measures. College-aged students in battleground states are the organization’s main focus, and with over 220,000 committed voters from more than 200 campuses — 60 in Ohio alone — it’s reaching its target audience.
On its website, NextGen Climate calls for 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Founder Tom Steyer, a hedge fund manager with a net worth of $1.6 billion, put $25 million toward the campaign to reach this goal.
As a result, OU chapter organizer Vicky Mattson is loaded with group swag: informational handouts, cups, presentations, bags and even frisbees the group plans to hand out to students in exchange for committed voter cards.
“We are a well-funded organization that works to affect climate change via political means. We operate like a presidential election with climate as our candidate,” Mattson said.
While Steyer has hosted events for HIllary Clinton in the past, OU’s NextGen Climate chapter brands itself as more anti-Donald Trump than pro-Clinton, holding events such as a “Pie Trump” demonstration next to Voigt Hall.
As of last year, the chapter had 12 active members, but Mattson and her modestly-sized yet passionate crew are eager for campus exposure during their second year in Athens. During their most recent voter registration event, members said they garnered nearly 600 names.
Other strategies for NextGen Climate include setting up grilled cheese stands on Court Street on Friday and Saturday nights and offering up the sandwiches in exchange for commit-to-vote information. Mattson said the lack of open restaurants late at night leads to successful outings, but added that a lot of the submissions use fake names.
This coming week, the organization has an impressive nine events planned, mostly involving canvassing, and even going door-to-door in residence dorms.
“The millennial generation is bigger than the (Baby) Boomers ever were,” Mattson said. “The Boomers stopped a war… If Trump becomes president, everything’s over. The future is done.”
NextGen Climate meets weekly on Thursdays at 5 p.m. in Baker 230.
Correction: This article previously stated NextGen was only active on 28 campuses. This information has been corrected according to information from NextGen Ohio Deputy Communication Director David Miller. We apologize for this error.