By Amanda Watkins November 29, 2018

While interning for the environmental group Defend Our Future at ASU during the summer and fall semesters, we focused on registering people to vote, promoting youth voting, and making sure climate change was being considered when young people went to the polls in the midterm elections. This work was critical to ensure pro-environment candidates were elected, especially due to the recent IPCC report regarding the rapidly approaching negative effects of climate change.

Being a part of a student-led organization, it was amazing to see how interested students on campus were in learning about pro-climate policies. The organization hosted a well-attended Millennial Town Hall meeting which featured politicians like now Congressman-elect Greg Stanton and Rep. Tom O’Halloran, both of whom won while actively voicing their beliefs and their ideas on how to address climate change. To help get out the youth vote, my fellow interns and I went to festivals, held events, and spoke with students on Arizona State University’s campus to help promote the importance of voting by collecting pledges to vote.

I remember getting students that were excited to be able vote in the midterm election because they had recently turned eighteen. Students, professors, and community members at events were incredibly supportive of our commitment to increase youth voting and promote climate action in the 2018 midterm elections. On election day, we stopped by Palo Verde West, ASU’s on-campus polling location, and the turnout was phenomenal. Without a doubt, I believe that the hard work and dedication of my fellow interns impacted voter turnout for this election, and it was an honor to play a role in such an important effort.

Interning with Defend Our Future was a valuable part of my senior year, because it helped me focus on what was important to me, which is to continue to strive to save our planet. The internship program helps you get more involved, educated, and experienced as a climate activist, which is why I highly recommend others to find time in their schedule to either volunteer or intern with Defend Our Future!

Amanda Watkins is a senior at Arizona State University.