Authors: Samantha Akwei, College Ambassador, Spelman College
As all good things must come to an end, so does my Ambassadorship with Green For All. Am I crying? No! Because I know this is only the beginning. Today, unlike a year ago, I am able to converse with my peers and members of my community about environmental issues in a way that I would have never imagined. Learning to use proper terminology to describe the current situations and understanding their long-term effects enabled me to advocate on behalf of environmental consciousness and the need for my community to take action.
Don't get me wrong, I was not always a happy camper during my ambassadorship. There were times I was discouraged and wanted to quit. I did not always get the support I sought from my school's administration, leaving me frustrated and ready to give in. But with the support of my fellow Ambassadors and advisors I began to focus on the things I could do and the people that did support me. As part of a larger group of students, I participated in Recyclemania at Spelman, an event held in collaboration with the Bonner's Office of Community Service. This experience taught me that I was not alone in my fight to save the environment, and it encouraged me to collaborate with other student organizations as much as possible. I then worked with the Outdoor Activity Center in Atlanta, and assisted with water barrel workshops taught by its educational director, Mr. Darryl Haddock. I was also fortunate to attend a cool Green Carpet event hosted by the Greening Youth Foundation, interview in Roll Out Magazine about my ambassadorship, be sponsored by the Sierra Club, volunteer for the Campus Conscious Tour with rapper Wiz Khalifa at Emory University, and last but not least, attend PowerShift 2011 in Washington D.C. Attending PowerShift was life changing! From recruiting students on campus to informing them of how much power they possessed in organizing, I couldn't have asked for a more exciting experience. At PowerShift, I not only met other student activist and organizers, but also was given the grand opportunity to hear major environmental leaders like Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Van Jones and Al Gore. Talk about a Power House! Hearing their speeches and seeing their presence alone gave me hope that I too have the potential to speak about environmental injustice and be heard. After attending PowerShift and reflecting on my ambassadorship, I realized I already have the Power to Shift any cause I believe in. However, it's ultimately up to me to make that happen.