Archive | June, 2011


26 Jun

Well, wow.  My life definitely took a 180-degree turn in just a few short days.  Finishing up classes with finals, completing end-of-the-year Chi Omega things, packing up my life, moving to DC, and starting a new job.  I went from having a full week scheduled on my iCal to not knowing what I’ll even be doing this afternoon.  Everything is new.  It’s like freshman year all over again — new city, new job, new routines, and knowing no one.  I suppose living in a college dorm is not helping that aspect of the situation much more.

But I love it!  DC is fantastic.  I’ve finally gotten around to writing about it, and here I am on a beautiful Friday night after work sitting on a bench on the mall with the Capitol, Smithsonian, and Washington Monument in view, listening to jazz in the sculpture garden, and watching a softball game.  Not a bad setting for my first post.

{ { Also, on a side note, I’m watching precious family memories being made in front of me in the form of a mom trying to get pictures of her teenage son standing with the Capitol in the background = “Mooooom.” + squirming + looking around nervously.  Embarrassed.  Success for Mom. (I think it’s safe to say that I am going to embarrass the heck out of my kids — à la Mama and Papa Lukens.  As my dad says, “That’s what dads are for.”) } }

Where to begin?  Basically, it has all flown by.  I cannot believe that two weeks ago I was still in Evanston worrying about finals and packing.  Arriving in DC Saturday night, I only had a few days with my Mom to get situated and ready for the summer while getting some tourism and quality time in together .  Starting work that Monday, I was literally thrust into an all-staff meeting at 9:30 a.m. followed by some readings aimed at catching me up on Environment America’s work.  While introducing me to the Clean Water campaign (my boss is the Clean Water Advocate), nothing would have prepared me for these past two weeks.  It has been a blur of writing letters to the editor, press releases, official statements, etc; proofing things for my boss; going to House and Senate committee markups, hearings, briefings (my favorite); conference calls; and sorting through thousands of postcards from around the country encouraging the EPA to renew Clean Water Act protections (which are brutally under attack in Congress, but that’s for a whole other post).

{ { Insert tour group of seven segways passing by.  Oh wait, eight more.  Yay, lazy Americans.  Yikes (but admittedly awesome). } }

Along with all of these things (which may sound boring but are actually pretty interesting), just in these last two weeks I’ve had so much exposure to this policy world — going to the Hill, getting to see our congressmen in action, sitting in on strategy discussions between big environmental groups, meeting these leaders, getting advice from Environment America high-ups, and having the opportunity to see and do all of the behind-the-scenes work.  This has all been so fantastic, and now I know this is what I want to do.  Really, what I need to do.  Now that I’ve seen inside, I don’t think there’s any way that I could turn my back on it and go do something else.  As one advocate said to us interns today, “there’s too much shitty stuff going on in this world to waste time doing something else.”  A little harsh, but I agree with his point.  Whether it’s here in DC or back in the state arena, I know environmental policy is where I belong.  So, I got that going for me…..(which is nice.)

{ { Kid running by “flying” a kite about 3 feet behind him.  That thing’s not going anywhere, kid.  Crappiest kite ever, but biggest grin on his face.  Totally makes up for it. } }

With about a month and a half left of my time in DC, I’m trying to cram as much tourism into my weekends as possible — the 9-6 plus travel time workdays don’t allow for much activity during the week.  Hopefully I can make the most of my time here!  Meanwhile, it is incredibly hot everyday — sadly, I was not made to endure anything south of Minnesota.  Especially as I spend my days talking about the importance of clean water and how precious our waterways are, I can’t help but wish I was up north at my cabin, on the lake, sailing and tubing and skiing.  Fingers crossed, I will be in August!