Hi all –
One of the (few) downsides of my being the new kid on the block is that I don’t yet know a lot of students in our Environmental Program. However, good news about current and past ENVS students makes its way to me, from all over campus (and the country, actually). Today I wanted to share a couple stories with you about our current students. A couple of weeks ago, I think I shared with you the importance of talking with those outside your bubble. These are two stories of speaking up when the time is right.
The first story is about Julie Macuga. Julie speaks for the warblers. (You’ll have to read her commentary published hereto know what that means.) But just briefly, Julie and many others have opposed the development of the Vermont Gas Pipeline. Trish O’Kane inspired Julie to become a shareholder in the Quebec-based company that is overseeing the development of the pipeline just so she could go to the shareholder’s meeting and speak up about both the environmental and economic downsides of the proposed project to the other shareholders, the CEO, and interested parties. In a word, this is bravery. When I was in college, about the bravest thing I did was knock on doors in Denver and Ft Collins for the Sierra Club. I did stupid things on skis and mountain bikes that I called being brave. But what Julie did in Montreal was true bravery. And it’s also inspiring.
The second story is about Kaitlyn Morris’s ENVS002 class that made the trek over to Montpellier for the annual VPIRG Lobby Day. I’m sure that many of our students went to engage with our representatives in state government. But I loved that students in our ENVS002 classes are already engaging in important activism. Here are just a few quotes from a few of the inspiring students who went:
“Wow! Such a powerful experience to be surrounded by a group of young committed activists. It reminded me that our generation has the power and responsibility to make a change.” -Isabel Lisle
“I regained a sense of hope after observing how dedicated the younger generations are about making a positive difference in the world.” -Annie Brown
“When individuals on the ground choose to come together and express their values, it can have a great influence on decisions and policy of those higher up. -Zachary Guillian
“The experience I had at the Youth Lobby Day in Montpelier was not only educational, but inspiring as well… What I took away fro Youth Lobby Day is that knowledge and awareness are powerful tools to use in order to make change, so now going forward, I am excited to put these tools to good use!” -Victoria Nash
It’s often said that the future belongs to today’s youth (a refrain oft repeated during graduation ceremonies). But what I think our students demonstrate is that it’s not just the future that belongs to today’s youth. It’s today. Our students are effecting change all over the world. Keep it up. And keep in touch.
Happy Friday –