Springing into Environmental Advocacy – Marissa

Our Spring 2018 graduate interns are bringing their internships and semesters to a close! Marissa and Tanya have been with us since January, jumping straight into legislative session andhitting the ground running. The staff is incredibly grateful for all of their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their next endeavors!

Hear from Marissa on her experience with us below. To read about Tanya’s experience, click here

My time with the Sierra Club has truly been an unparalleled experience. Testifying in front of legislators, attending and organizing events, and receiving mentoring attention from phenomenal staff members is more than I could have asked for in a semester long internship. Any graduate student looking for hands on, environmental experience with a bunch of kick ass activists, this internship is for you.

The Sierra Club of Hawaii is unique in the environmental world in that it is actively and consistently involved in not one, but all sustainability measures throughout the islands. Protecting our water resources from leaking Red Hill fuel tanks, battling to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate based sunscreens, and fighting to keep recycling methods strong and thriving throughout the island are just a few issues Sierra Club is actively supporting. Being at the Sierra Club, community engagement, environmental advocating, and perceiving the real, corporal side of decision making are all crucial skills that come with being an activist. I am thankful for the staff members and their continued optimism towards all the issues our island battles. The Sierra Club fully understands the interconnectedness between all the environmental issues and how necessary it is to track all, not just one, in the battle to reverse and mitigate climate change impacts.

In my time at Sierra Club, I was able to volunteer as the waste and recycling Capitol Watch captain. This opportunity allowed me to further my knowledge in local waste and recycling methods, and think innovatively when reading bills and writing testimony. With this experience, I was able to tie key themes and issues into my graduate professional paper which centered around food waste. Being a part of the Sierra Club this semester further helped me realize my passion for waste and recycling here on Oahu.

One of the most memorable days at Sierra Club was going through decades old Malama articles, ranging from the 70’s to 90’s, and reading about pertinent issues during that period. Things like the construction of the H-3 highway, pesticide concerns from Monsanto Agrichemical company on Kauai, and development of the Kakaako area into affordable housing, were issues actively pursued by the Sierra Club, and today we can see the impact made from volunteers and community leaders engaging in the process. It was so encouraging to see the process through the documentation of the Malama’s, and really feel the constant perseverance by past activists to support a stronger future, our present! It reminded me that being involved, active, and present are crucial efforts in voicing real concerns from real people. Always be involved!

Above all, I am so grateful for the mentoring and encouragement from all of the chapter staff members and volunteers. As I am graduating in the next few weeks, theSierra Club has been supportive in my day to day job hunt in reaching out and offering recommendations to employers. I appreciate my time as an intern and look forward to volunteering with the Sierra Club in the future! Malama I Ka Honua.

If you are inspired and interested in interning with us, please send your resume and cover letter to hawaii.chapter@sierraclub.org