My Summer Internship With the Greenpeace Student Network
by Dan Cannon
My name is Fiona Gettinger. I’m a rising sophomore at the University of New Hampshire majoring in Environmental Conservation Studies, and a summer intern at Greenpeace in Washington D.C. I’m in my fourth week at Greenpeace as the Student Network intern and it has been a fantastic experience so far. I love working for such a vibrant organization so full of creative and passionate people, and I can definitely see myself here after college.
On our office tour during orientation I was stunned to see so many young faces among the full time staff. Maybe that is a key component in Greenpeace’s success, having several very experienced staff who know a cause inside and out, and a league of bright young people who constantly bring fresh ideas to the table. My second day into the internship, I showed up at the Sierra Club headquarters for the second day of an Energy Action Coalition meeting. I got to be a part of the planning process of Power Vote and Power Shift, the latter an event that I am so excited to attend next year as many of my environmentally active peers went in 2011 and returned energized and empowered. However, the thing that inspired me the most about the EAC meeting was not something on the agenda, but the way that a group of thirty young, driven people representing different organizations, could work together and accomplish a long list of objectives. In my experience in organizations established and run by young people, it is always a challenge to keep energy and motivation high enough to get things done, so seeing a meeting so well facilitated that participants were able to sustain levels of high productivity and creativity was really encouraging.
Also in my first week I attended a rally against mountain top removal and spent a day at the Greenpeace warehouse. Here I participated in an incredibly informative training on door canvassing led by Christina-Alexa Liakos and Dan Cannon for the Greenpeace Semester , I joined in at ‘Climb Night’, climbing my first ever rock wall, and I helped the warehouse staff paint campaign banners. Since then, most of my time has been dedicated to recruiting students to apply for the Student Network Activist Summit in early August we’re bringing together fifty of the best student activists from all over the country for four days of intense trainings, campaign strategizing, and grassroots organizing, in the beautiful Prince William Forest in Virginia. It’s such a great opportunity for everyone to learn skills to take back to campus and share with others, and to build a network of like-minded students on different campuses. I really encourage anyone interested in bringing the energy and tools to your campus to apply, and you can apply here!
I have learned so much about all forms of recruiting, canvassing, petitioning, and more, and in organizing this summit, I’m practicing skills every day that are crucial to building any campaign. Im really looking forward to bringing back everything Ive learned to the environmental student organization Im in, and working towards getting 100% clean energy on my campus by the time I graduate.