Varshini Prakash was born and raised outside Boston, MA. She got involved in the climate movement as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joined the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign early in her time at UMass and lead the campaign for two years. In Spring 2016, the campaign won after a 2-week long mass escalation in which over 700 students, faculty, and alumni participated. 32 were arrested after peacefully refusing to leave the Whitmore Administration Building until UMass agreed to climate action. For the last three years, she has coordinated fossil fuel divestment campaigns with the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network at a regional and national level. She supported campaigns across the country through training, mentorship, and strategic guidance.
Varshini currently serves as leader of the Sunrise Movement, which she co-founded in 2017.