From PLAN’s Board of Directors:
Friends of PLAN,
You all know our origin story. In 2010, Alex Freid and other students at the University of New Hampshire began to organize the Trash to Treasure (T2T) yard sale, a project that would evolve into the Post-Landfill Action Network. How far we’ve come! In this season of decade updates, it is fitting to look back, look forward, and share with you exciting news of leadership transition as PLAN enters our next chapter.
- A World Without Waste. Thanks to you, the PLAN network is thriving. We now work with over 400 campuses across the US as well as in Canada, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico, providing students with customized support and online access to best practices, toolkits, and case studies. Together, we run the largest annual national gathering of Students for Zero Waste and multiple regional Beyond Waste Student Summits. Internally, we have grown to 10 full-time staff members across 4 states and moved our headquarters to Philadelphia. We are on track to meet nearly every goal in our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. Below in their Co-Executive Directors’ letter, Faye and Alex write about where we’ve been and where we are going in greater detail; it’s humbling and inspiring to see what we have achieved together.
- Full Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As the organization has grown, we have worked hard to build an organizational culture and structure that reflects the world we want to live in. We live in a society steeped in white supremacy and heteropatriarchy culture – beliefs, practices, and policies that perpetuate systemic oppression and colonization – and we believe all organizations, small to large, need to go through the process of addressing these systemic issues. Our Mandate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (released in May 2018, after a year of internal work and reflection) has guided us through decisions and structural shifts we have implemented over the last year, including adding new perspectives onto our Board of Directors. We believe that moving to a world beyond waste is inherently linked to liberation. In that spirit, we want to take this moment, at the start of a new decade, to recommit ourselves to growth.
- Points of Intervention. PLAN’s focus has grown beyond “zero waste” to addressing the entire linear consumption economy – identifying that waste is a by-product of a global economy that extracts resources, intentionally produces disposable products, and encourages disposal as fast as possible to repeat the cycle. The system is complicated and there are countless points of intervention. To fix this incredibly unsustainable system, no one can do everything, but everyone must do something. Accordingly, PLAN now targets multiple ‘points of intervention’ in higher education, including the Zero Waste Atlas project, a consulting framework to help campuses develop holistic strategic plans to achieve institutional zero waste.
As we begin to develop our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, we are excited to announce that, in the next year, Alex will shift his role in the organization from Co-Executive Director to leading and growing PLAN’s consulting services. This change reflects PLAN’s intentional approach of prioritizing voices and identities that have been historically marginalized within decision-making and leadership roles (again, please see our DEI Mandate), as well as the potential of PLAN consulting services to drive institutional change and to subsidize our student movement activities. As part of the strategic planning process, we are working closely with Faye, Alex, and external partners to map PLAN’s leadership needs and open a search for a Co-Executive Director to join Faye in managing and leading the overall organization, as Alex transitions to his new role.
While organizational change can be intimidating, we are fortunate that PLAN has a solid foundation and the necessary resilience for this change. Our Co-Executive Director model, longstanding commitment to staff development and collaborative decision-making, Alex’s and Faye’s continued dedication to the organization and movement, and invaluable support from our donors and partners will help us ensure that this transition, while significant, is intentional and critical for the development of PLAN. As always, please reach out with questions or suggestions – and please also reach out with introductions to promising Co-Executive Director candidates who can help take PLAN to our next level of growth and impact.
Yusi Turell, Board Chair & the PLAN Board of Directors
Alex Freid and Faye Christoforo, Co-Executive Directors & the PLAN Staff
A note from Alex and Faye,
PLAN’s Co-Executive Directors:
It’s incredible how far we’ve come in just under 7 years’ time. When we first started working together we were both fresh out of college and so excited to be building this dream. PLAN has done so much in that time, from creating PLAN’s first staff retreat to writing our first Employee Handbook; from building PLAN’s first training to traveling together across countless miles; from running the first summer PLANternship to running the first Students for Zero Waste Conference. Now, though not so fresh anymore, we continue to be inspired by the mission and the growing movement that PLAN is a part of. As a team we have worked so well together, and now, as a team, we have decided it is time for a change.
Throughout the past year we have had an amazing and challenging opportunity to work with a significant cohort of current and outgoing staff to restructure the organization. Through this process, we have recognized two important things: one, to work toward liberation we need to create more space in our organization for leadership from people who come from historically marginalized backgrounds and, two, the mission is best served by Alex changing his role to focus 100% on growing our campus consulting efforts. As the Senior Director of Atlas Consulting, Alex will continue to be a valued member of the PLAN team working within the Atlas project.
We are both incredibly excited for the opportunity this provides all of us to transform PLAN’s structure and culture. We have been working for months with a Succession Planning Committee made up of a handful of Board Members, and together we will all be working over the next year with transition coaches and consultants to ensure a smooth transition with ample support for everyone as we navigate this process. We are looking forward to PLAN’s next chapter, and we are so thankful for your support and dedication – past, present, and future
As repeated above, please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions, suggestions, or introductions to promising Co-Executive Director candidates who can help take PLAN to our next level of growth and impact.