Throughout college, I struggled with what I wanted to do after graduation. I majored in English because I loved reading and writing, and I minored in Environmental Science because I couldn’t get the nagging voice out of my head telling me I needed to pursue my passion. I wanted to do something important, to feel like I made a difference, and I did not know where to start.
With that in mind, I graduated from Simpson College in December of 2019 with no clear path – just that I liked to write and that I cared about the environment. My introduction to the adult world started with a one-month stint at a nonprofit before being let go due to the pandemic. My second job was with a for-profit architecture firm – needless to say I did not find my passion there. I continued the search for an organization that would make me want to get up in the morning excited about my tasks; to make my work feel meaningful. And that is how Iowa Interfaith Power & Light came into the picture. I am specifically interested in Iowa IPL’s Called to Climate Action program because I know how much I would have loved to intern through this program as a college student myself!
I applied for the Called to Climate Action leadership program because It looked like a perfect opportunity to increase my perspective while also having the opportunity to do sustainable work. I was, and still am, extremely interested in how we take the next step forward for a better, more sustainable world. Growing up in a rural community, I was surrounded by farmers and food production, and living in the country, had a connection to the land and environment around me…I have found a new sense of confidence [through this work].”-Claira Miller of Iowa State University, 2021 Student Leader
Today’s students are equipped with resiliency and adaptability, with no thanks in part due to the ever-present pandemic. Events have been postponed to later dates only to inevitably be cancelled, networking events are done through screens, and the guidance of our leaders have not always been clear. As a recent graduate, my heart is heavy for those unable to experience the full effect college has to offer. I managed to finish my studies right before the pandemic hit, but so many of my peers were exposed to full semesters of virtual learning.
COVID-19 has hopefully allowed us time for reflection on how we want to interact with others and the world around us. It is all connected: climate change, extreme weather, polarization, epidemics. We will continue to see more extremes in our future if we do not change now. And my hope is to look to our future leaders for that change.
Through our Called to Climate Action program at Iowa IPL, we give students leadership opportunities to empower themselves to make bold and just decisions to combat the climate crisis. Our summer 2021 student interns, Claira Miller and Parker Laney, have blown us away in their commitment to faith-based leadership. They have worked hard at creating faith statements – both personal opinion pieces and public statements – to motivate and inspire others to take action against the climate crisis. We are very proud of Claira and Parker and their commitment to their work as young leaders, and we know they will continue to make a difference throughout their remaining college careers and beyond.
I feel very strongly that Creation is for all of us to enjoy and climate change threatens this experience. I want to be a part of the solution to solving the climate crisis. I believe that we are stewards of the Earth and Creation, and as stewards it’s our duty to protect the Earth and its inhabitants…Th[is] internship allowed me to connect with others who have similar values to mine, and to meet other college aged students who are passionate about solving the climate crisis.-Parker Laney of Coe College, 2021 Student Leader
There are many uncertainties in this world, but I am certain that our up and coming leaders know how imperative it is to make a difference. College students, join us on October 9, 2021 for a morning workshop on how to ignite change on your campus. All are welcome at our public event on October 16, 2021.