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Massachusetts Society of Professors

The Union of Faculty and Librarians at UMass Amherst

Climate and Environmental Justice

UMass Amherst Environmental and Social Action Movement (ESAM)

MSP is engaged in climate justice work through a multi-union effort to address the climate crisis. As union members and workers we aim to leverage our power to bargain with the administration around climate justice proposals that include good union job opportunities. In Spring 2021, the multi-union group linked arms with students to form the UMass Amherst Environmental and Social Action Movement (ESAM)

Preserving a livable planet must be a central goal of the labor movement in the United States. As unions we can pressure employers, governments, and corporations to cut their carbon emissions on the rapid timeline that scientists say is necessary. We can also help ensure a “just transition” to a zero-carbon economy, meaning an equitable, fair process that does not cost any workers or community residents their health, environment, or economic well-being, but rather leads to material improvements for working people everywhere. 

Students likewise play a vital role in this historic struggle. Youth climate organizers around the world have injected new energy into the climate movement in recent years. Here at UMass, students’ collective action has been indispensable in making our university a more environment-friendly institution. 

To get involved with ESAM please visit

ESAM’s current campaigns:

Move Our Money. This campaign recently launched a petition urging the UMass system to cut ties with dirty banks, insurers, and asset managers. UMass banks with the 4 worst offenders and uses some very bad insurers and asset managers as well. In 2016 the UMass Trustees finally agreed – after a hard-fought campaign led by students who would go on to co-found the Sunrise Movement – to divest direct stock holdings from fossil fuels. In 2022 the UMass Amherst campus announced a plan to go zero-carbon by 2032 – again, following pressure from students and workers. However, the zero-carbon plan only includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, and UMass’s financed emissions – the emissions it enables with its money – remain enormous. Meanwhile the UMass Foundation (the entity that invests the $1.3 billion endowment) continues to invest in fossil fuels indirectly. These financial policies must change if UMass is to be an environmentally responsible institution.
Contact: Kevin Young,

Just, Sustainable Transportation. This campaign is focused on improving eco-friendly transit options to, from, and within the UMass Amherst campus. It has pushed for things like greater UMass financial support for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (which runs the buses in the region), more EV charging stations on campus, and more bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Members of this campaign have been active in the campus Parking and Transportation Advisory Board and in other arenas. (PAUSED Spring 2024)

Greater Community Solidarity. This campaign is dedicated to building a stronger and more meaningful collaboration between the UMass Amherst campus and surrounding communities, with a focus on working-class areas and communities of color in places like Holyoke and Springfield. It emerged from a concern that UMass climate initiatives were not involving grassroots organizations. Since December 2021, members of ESAM have been working with members of the Faculty Senate Public Engagement and Outreach Council and representatives from local organizations to identify ways that UMass can better support the work of grassroots community organizers. These discussions have resulted in a concrete proposal to fund: honoraria for grassroots organizers visiting UMass classes; tuition waivers for grassroots organizers taking UMass courses relevant to their work; and stipends for UMass students and their host organizations to support student internships. We are now working to identify a suitable unit on campus to host the initiative.
Contact: Sigrid Schmalzer,

Voter Education. This campaign seeks to educate and mobilize members of the campus community around voting. Proposals have included the successful adjustment of the UMass calendar to cancel classes on Election Day. We hold voter registration events and are now working on reinstating a polling place on campus.
Contact: Isabel Rojas,

Green Labs. This campaign seeks to “green” campus laboratories by reducing waste, exploring options for environmentally friendly lab products and introducing/reinforcing recycling practices. Resource sharing and communications with lab managers and lab users aim to include practices such as adding composters/tea gardens outside lab buildings/offices, confirming the recycling of glass, nitrile gloves, plastic tubes, and the distribution of pipette tip sorters.
Contact: Lucca Kikuti Mancilio,

ESAM history @ a glance