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No better time than now to organize

<aduated from Carleton College last June and knew that I was going into this year's Green Corps class of 2009. Entering this “Field School for Environmental Organizing,” I knew that I would be working on environmental campaigns in 3-5 cities throughout this year. I knew that I would gain skills to continue working in the environmental movement in my career. I even knew that I would have fun and get a lot accomplished.

What I didn’t know was how much of an impact I would make right from the start and the amazing moment in time we would become a part of, as my year with Green Corps coincided with the election of President Obama. With Obama’s history as a social change organizer, the kind of movement we are building at Green Corps is put in the forefront of his administration and makes citizens excited to join together in a united front.

I worked on my first campaign in Florida with Power Vote, working with Power Vote to mobilize the Florida student voice around clean and just energy for the election. Having grown up in New Jersey, I had no idea what to expect in Florida (isn’t FL just grandparents and Miami). To my surprise, within the first few weeks on the ground I had activated a groups of students at colleges and universities across the state. The campaign was part of a national effort called Power Vote. Power Vote built a youth voter bloc to ensure that candidates, and later elected officials, respond to our generation. If you were watching on election day, you saw the youth vote flex political muscle that could leave us with a powerful say in America’s “change”. In the home of modern electoral controversy, we had media covering everything we did from our marches to dorm storms to student run press conferences and any interviews we gave. When I left, the students I worked with were running campaigns on their campuses almost completely independent of me!

In the midst of all this, Barack Obama was elected to office on the message of hope and change. Just like in Florida youth, people across the nation were realizing the power of people coming together for change. Obama had served as a community organizer in the early days of his career in Chicago, and he brought those principles to his campaign.

Employing thousands of organizers across the nation who spread his message person by person, the Obama campaign has been described as one of the most well-organized presidential campaign of modern times. This kind of organizing is what Green Corps teaches you to do on environmental issues – taking public concern and turning it into action. I’m so grateful to be working on these issues that are so vital today; given our current political climate, it is all the more easy and exciting. There’s never been a better time to organize.

I’ll be on campus January 29th and 30th talking to students at Ithaca about this opportunity and I’d love to work with you if you’ve got any questions. I’m also having an info session at 7pm on January 29th in campus in Sayles 251.

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