The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Eliza Rockefeller ’17

16X Notes from the Field

Eliza Rockefeller interned at Environment Oregon during the 2016 Summer Term.

16X Notes from the Field

Eliza Rockefeller '17 with colleagues at Environment Oregon, a non-profit, statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.

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Eliza Rockefeller interned at Environment Oregon during the 2016 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

Environment Oregon is a non-profit, statewide, citizen-based advocacy organization that lobbies for environmental policy on local, state and national levels. It is a member of Environment America, a national federation, and works together with the federation, other state chapters, and the Oregon Conservation Network to achieve victories in environmental conservation.

At Environment Oregon I worked on two campaigns, “Go Solar, Oregon,” promoting solar power in Oregon and “No Bees, No Food,” protecting bees and other key pollinators from toxic pesticides. I had two central assignments: researching and writing a report on solar power in Oregon’s 40 largest cities, and coordinating, publicizing and running an event for members to educate and engage them on the bees campaign.

My internship at Environment Oregon gave me a deeper and more nuanced understanding of environmental issues, skills in environmental organizing and event organizing, and connection to a network of advocates. I was expected to keep up with local and national environmental news on a daily basis, through which I learned about the issue of transport of oil by rail, cap-and-trade, federal energy policies, fracking, and solar power around the world. Through my work on my solar report I researched utility companies, community solar programs, net metering and incentives for installation of rooftop solar. I also learned how to navigate bureaucracy as my research necessitated that I call and work with most utility companies in the state to gather information on their installed solar capacity in the cities they service.

This experience will influence my future academic and professional pursuits. It has affirmed my interest in environmental and sustainability issues and shown me that these issues are even more urgent than I had previously understood, and it has given me tools to organize and advocate to make concrete progress on these issues. I plan to take a course in Environmental Studies department to build on the knowledge I gained in this internship, perhaps ENVS 12: Energy and the Environment or ENVS 61: Governing the Environment. The experience has also informed my post-graduation plans and has affirmed my interest in working on environmental issues on a state level, and has shifted my interest from grassroots organizing to policy and legislation.

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