By Maggie Schnettler March 19, 2018

In my sophomore year of college, I was fortunate enough to join Defend Our Future as an intern at Colorado State University. As a student studying Environmental Health, I was looking for an opportunity to explore environmental policy and become more aware of current environmental events and issues. As an intern I had the chance to not only become more politically active but also introduce myself to an entirely new community of people in the environmental policy world.

Working with our team on campus, I was able to network with and speak to students, parents, and professors from all different political backgrounds about the important climate issues that face us today. One of the most rewarding aspects of this job was speaking to constituents and discussing their enthusiasm regarding preservation of natural resources, public lands, and public health, regardless of political affiliation. I was very encouraged to learn that there is an overwhelming majority of young people who support progressive climate policy across the board.

This passion was found at both on- and off-campus events. For last semester’s Defend Our Beer events at Odell Brewing Company and Gilded Goat Brewing, many community members joined us to drink local craft beer and learn more about the impact of climate change on the industry. The events emphasized the relationship between sustainable beer production and the environment, bringing together Fort Collins community members and CSU students alike who expressed support for the cause and learned about progressive and environmentally friendly practices in an industry setting. The Defend Our Beer event really opened my eyes to an empowered and educated community within Fort Collins that I hadn’t previously been exposed to.

Engaging the local community has given me great hope for the next generation and our power to affect positive change on the environment. Anyone interested the opportunity to do meaningful work that will reward you for years to come should absolutely consider joining the Defend Our Future team. Young people have more power than they realize, and now is the time to seize the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world we want to see.

Maggie Schnettler is a sophomore at Colorado State University.