I think I should begin this post by touching on some of the more significant contributions I felt I was able to make in the second half of my time here, before reflecting on what I learned and how I felt about the summer.
I gained event planning experience when I coordinated the catering, open bar, and sound system for a company event in Denver, and I mapped top donors, fundraisers, and bundlers for all of the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runners. I did an in-depth profile of the upcoming Senate race in Maine, where incumbent Susan Collins is being challenged by Sara Gideon, and wrote up a four page report on the dynamics at play in the race. This led me to research each candidates’ legislative backgrounds, their political victories and failures, and the extent to which the race could impact the US Senate at large. I was able to complement this deep dive with broader power mapping profiles of upcoming Senate races in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Iowa. I also had a chance to write a blog post of my choosing for the Alliance for Justice’s affiliated Action Campaign, and chose to write about the ongoing efforts to sell off public lands in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. At the AFJ president’s request I also drafted a one-pager about former Senator Slade Gorton and the complicated relationship he had with federal judicial nominees during his time in office.
Spending 10 weeks working in coalition with other progressive nonprofits showed me what it looks like to be surrounded by people who do work that they are passionate about, and I found it very reassuring to see that that does exist, and that people can actually provide for themselves and their families without having to do jobs they don’t enjoy in fields they don’t care about. I’ve talked a lot about social identity theory in my previous blog posts, and it has been interesting to see that theory made manifest throughout the coalition, and at my office in particular. While they come from places of positive intent, I think it is important for my peers and me to be wary of things like “call-out culture” and a mindset that fetishizes adversity, because developing attachments to these things distracts from our larger and more pressing shared goals of equality, justice, and responsible governance. I am very excited to get back to UR, and Jepson in particular, to raise some of these questions with my classmates in settings that are a bit lower-risk/more encouraging of debate than a workplace, because I am curious to hear what other people think about these issues.
As my summer comes to a close I am feeling very fortunate to have had the chance to work where I did. This has been the most informative and fulfilling summer of my time in college, and this is largely owed to the quality of the team I worked on and the manager who led it. I have a clearer sense of the types of work I would like to do when I graduate and the options that are available to me moving forward, and I feel confident in the willingness of colleagues to continue to serve as mentors and professional resources. My summer in advocacy may be at an end, but I will leave this city with the knowledge that I’ll be back, and that there’s quite a bit of fun to be had yet.