LEARN ABOUT THE PSU PIPELINE: A threat to the State College Community Environmental Bill of Rights. Like Groundswell on facebook, as well as the “Stop the Penn State Pipeline” facebook page to hear more, and sign the change.org petition!

Groundswell is as much a cause as a citizen’s coalition; anyone can be a part of the Groundswell. Groundswell has pushed forward a Community Bill of Rights and Natural Gas Fracking Ban in the borough of State College, PA and Ferguson Township, PA. On November 8th, 2011, State College became the first place in the nation to pass Community Rights, Environmental Rights (or Rights of Nature) and a ban on fracking by a popular vote. Our second campaign, and second success, came on November 6th, 2012 in Ferguson Township, PA. Click Here to read an article in the Centre Daily Times.

Now we’re pushing forward these ideas with other communities, while building a long-term coalition to protect and implement these laws. It’s going to be an uphill battle to ensure that our environment is protected and we can take responsibility for our local energy future, but it’s a cause we are excited champion – and with your help, we know we can succeed!

We’re not stopping here. A world will exist with an economy, environment and democracy that thrive together.

Gearing up for election day 2011!

Community Rights enfranchise local communities to take greater control of what happens within their boarders -as it affects their health, environment and creating a sustainable energy future.

Environmental Rights, like the right to clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems are not only enshrined as human rights, but as rights that extend to living ecologies: allowing us to recognize the environment as something other than just property.

Finally, this law bans fracking within the boarders of the Borough municipality. If state and federal government are failing to protect communities from corporate exploitation, those communities should have the right to protect their own health, safety and collective future.

Taken together, these initiatives amount to a challenge to existing structural law concerning local government and a revolution in the way we deal with issues concerning communities and our environment. You can read more about this initiative on our Mission Page.

On Nov. 8th, 2011 our first initiative passed with 72% of the vote. It was a landslide.

Our sign, made by local artist Annalisa Barron from a spiraled 180ft community mural.

Now we’re looking forward as we expand this initiative to new communities, educate the public on community and environmental rights, and build a network of people dedicated to change making. We have initiatives in three neighboring municipalities around State College, are beginning work in New York City, and are consulting with community advocates as far away as Athens, Ohio and Boulder, Colorado.

We are dedicated to bringing new people into community rights advocacy, and helping them become change-makers. Wherever you are, we’d love for you to get involved- we want to help you. Contact Us.

Become a part of the Groundswell!


Founder: Braden Crooks

Braden Crooks is a graduate from the Pennsylvania State University in Landscape Architecture, where he cultivated an understanding of sustainability in urban and community issues. He began as a student activist for environmental issues and, after graduation, he founded Groundswell. Since then he has devoted himself full-time to community organizing, and entered graduate school at Parsons in New York City. More on Braden.

Our Community Leaders:

Gary Thornbloom, Pam Steckler, Jeff Kurland, Woody and Luli Skidgel, Peter Buckland, Dipak Sahoo, Mel Bowdish, Annalisa Barron, Cameron Scott, Chris Danilo, Cecilia Ebitz, Catherine Jampel, Charlie Kane, Lynne Heritage, Rob Egan, and so many more volunteers are the lifeblood of Groundswell. Their contribution to the community and dedication to creating a sustainable future is what makes Groundswell a formidable force for positive change!

Partner: The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

CELDF wrote our legislation, and gave us consultation as lawyers and community organizers. Many of the ideas of Groundswell come originally from CELDF. If you want to pass a Community Bill of Rights, be sure to contact them. A special thanks goes to Ben Price, who continues to work with Groundswell.

Partner: Sierra Club Moshannon Group

Our local Sierra Club was a vital partner in our success, and continues to be a force for creative change in our community. A special thanks is in order for Gary Thornbloom, Pam Steckler, Jeff Kurland and Peter Buckland, without whom Groundswell wouldn’t be what it is today!Visit their site to support the Sierra Club, and become a member.

Partner: Eco-Action Student Club

Eco-Action, under the leadership of Stefan Nagy, Spencer Wittry, Stephan Hobaugh, Bernadette Brogden and many other student activists, built a wave of support on and off campus through actions, voter registration, phone banking and awareness raising. A special thanks goes to Stefan Nagy and Paige Cross for their help in the petitioning process as well. Eco-Action continues to do great work, and will always be a friend of Groundswell!

Partner: Environmental Coalition of Centre County

Both instrumental on setting the course toward a popular vote, and later endorsing the Community Bill of Rights and helping with advertisements and awareness raising, the Environmental Coalition of Centre County was an important partner in the November 8th vote. A special thanks goes to Mayor Elizabeth Goreham and council member Peter Morris for their endorsement of our Community Bill of Rights: they went to bat for the voters of State College! Our partnership continues.