Andrew shares how he started working with Environment America and advice for Princeton students.
Could you tell us about what your organization does and describe a typical workday?
Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations that are dedicated to fighting for clean water, clean air and open spaces. We believe that our nation’s natural wonders enrich our lives in countless ways, and we work to protect and preserve those wonders for future generations of America.
In my job, no two days are the same. One day I might write a blog post and organize a coalition meeting, another day I might make a speech at an event and work with volunteers. I love my job for the breadth of experience I get, including grassroots organizing, public education, and fundraising (not to mention recruiting new people to the movement!). I also love my job because much of my time is spent out of the office, in the field.
Looking back, which experiences at Princeton do you consider to be most valuable in helping you in your career?
Without a doubt, being a leader for Outdoor Action was the best leadership experience I got at Princeton. I cannot recommend it enough to any current students that are considering it--from the training in leadership and technical skills, to the responsibility I got during frosh trip, being an OA leader was an invaluable experience. Besides that, I had a summer internship with the Nature Conservancy in San Francisco, which was a good introduction to working at an environmental nonprofit.
What advice do you have for a student contemplating a career in your field?
When I was a senior, I looked around at what my peers were doing after graduation and wondered if I was making the wrong decision. I wanted to change the world and fight for what I believed in, but I wondered whether I was being naive or too idealistic. Eventually I followed my instinct and I haven't looked back.
My advice to students facing a similar decision is to do the thing that will be most meaningful or fulfilling for you after graduation, even if it means going against the grain or striking out on your own. Whether you find that fulfillment working at a nonprofit, exploring a distant mountain range or playing in a band, a meaningful life is well worth the trouble.
What advice do you have for students looking for a job?
Be genuine and tell employers what you're passionate about, or what interests you. Recruiters meet a lot of people at Meetups and career fairs, and for me, the students that stand out the most are the ones that convey a sense of interest, passion or motivation.