Alumni Perspective: Environment America Fellowship

Interested in environmental advocacy? Are you looking for a career that will give you first-hand public policy experience right out of college? Check out the Environment American Fellowship Program!

Today’s post about the Environment America Fellowship comes from alumnae Audrey Richardson. Audrey graduated from Bucknell a semester early in January of 2010 and majored in both English and Political Science. During her time at Bucknell Audrey was also a BPIP Internship Fund Recipient, gaining summer internship experience at the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee in 2009.

Upon graduating, she accepted a Fellowship position with Environment America. She chose to take the job with Environment America because she wanted a career in which she would be able to advocate for the issues she is passionate about while simultaneously gaining public policy experience. Here is Audrey’s perspective on working for Environment America and why YOU should consider this fellowship opportunity…

Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental organizations that use independent research, pragmatic solutions, and tough advocacy to stand up to powerful special interests. Environment America has professional staff in 29 states as well as in Washington, DC. Environment America uses state level advocacy and legislation to set environmental standards to lay a strong foundation for regional and national policy improvements. Among its many projects, Environment America seeks to reduce our oil dependence, re-power America through clean energy solutions, restore America’s waterways, stop toxic pollution, and save our national parks, open spaces, and national wildlife.

Each year, Environment America hires passionate, talented, and committed recent college graduates to join its two-year Fellowship Program. Fellows participate in a series of year-round trainings that allow them to excel in the field.

As part of the program, fellows will:

  • Plan, run, and win environmental campaigns
  • Research and identify effective solutions to environmental problems
  • Build and mobilize powerful constituencies to back the organization’s campaigns
  • Lobby lawmakers
  • Publish opinion pieces
  • Speak at news conferences
  • Organize town hall meetings and rallies
  • Run citizen outreach campaigns to educate the public
  • Build membership and raise money for the organization

I am in the first year of the EA fellowship. My first project with the organization was to direct a ‘No on Proposition 23’ campaign in San Diego, California at San Diego State University (SDSU). Proposition 23 was a deceptive ballot measure that was funded primarily by two Texas-based oil companies. If it had succeeded, Prop 23 would have increased air pollution, crippled California’s clean energy economy, and dismantled the state’s landmark global warming policy, AB 32. Environment California led a statewide get-out-the-vote initiative on over 35 college campuses to defeat the Proposition. In eight weeks, Environment California got 160,429 students across the state to sign an “I will vote NO on Proposition 23” pledge. In San Diego, I recruited, hired, and led a team of 45 interns who worked on the campaign a minimum of 10 hrs/week. My campaign at SDSU raised over 8,000 student pledges – more than 1/3 of the student population. On November 2nd, Californian’s successfully defeated the Proposition by 61%/39%. It was an incredible victory at both a state and national level.

After the election, I was promoted to the position of Environment Massachusetts’ clean energy advocate. I will move to Boston in December, after working on banning single-use plastic bags in major California cities for a few more weeks. LA county officially banned plastic bags on November 16th. The next city we are targeting is San Jose.

In the Fellowship program, you work directly with key environmental leaders. My director is currently the Legislative Director of Environment California. He serves as both my trainer and my mentor; he offers wise insight and experienced feedback so I can better understand the best strategies for implementing effective policy and promoting political change.

The Environment America Fellowship allows you to play a significant role in fighting some of our country’s most serious environmental problems. I feel very fortunate to be working for a nonprofit that gets results and makes a real difference. I would highly recommend this position.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, contact Monique Sullivan at msullivan@environmentamerica.org

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