Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Finding Myself on my Final Co-op: Nalubega ’18 at Glen Helen Nature Preserve and the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Yellow Springs, OH

This quarter, I started my co-op working at the Scholl-Ashodian Law Office in Havertown, Pennsylvania. After about a week, I realized that the job wasn’t the right fit for me so I decided to leave, and I’m now back in Yellow Springs, working part-time at both the Glen Helen Nature Preserve and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a nonpartisan Quaker lobby that looks to examine federal public policy through a faith-based lens. At the Glen, I’m splitting my time between working at the Trailside Museum and doing data entry, while at FCNL I am a part of the Advocacy Corps Fellowship, one of their young adult programs that focuses on an important issue each year to lobby on. This year, I and the twenty other Advocacy Corps Fellows are lobbying our state representatives and senators on climate change, in addition to creating pathways for other young people to get involved in their local districts.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. to learn from environmental lobbyists, U.S. representatives, and nonprofit environmental justice leaders on both sides of the political spectrum. I was also able to go to the House and Senate offices and lobby Representative Michael Turner, Senator Brown, and Senator Portman, which allowed me to make some connections and get advice, not just about environmental policy but about work as a congressional staffer. It was really encouraging to be around young people who are committed to doing this very difficult work within (and against) this administration.

The work that I am doing at the Glen and at the Friends Committee intersect with one another in that I am making an effort to affect change in the world, albeit in different ways. At the Glen, I am working to increase environmental education and promote the Glen’s needs, while also lobbying at the federal level through FCNL. I don’t believe that advocating without the input and help of affected communities is a useful strategy. Washington, D.C. will never be the center of revolutionary and local change, which is why it takes the combined efforts of smaller communities and larger political structures to build long-lasting movements.

This quarter has been a doozy. I have moved and packed up my suitcase so many times, have questioned what type of work I want to do in the world, have wrestled with the struggle of uncertainty—and now it’s slowly starting to come together. Not only am I working in the world of policy and nonprofits, but I am also still present on the streets to fight for the liberation of all oppressed peoples. After the events at Charlottesville, a few Antioch students and community members and I went to Columbus to protest white supremacy and Nazism. While there, I saw so many different religious and political organizations collaborating with one another. It gave me hope to witness polarized communities working together to provide support in the wake of death and protection in the sight of danger. I screamed until I had no voice, cried until I had no more tears to shed, and chanted at the police who just a few months prior killed a little black boy. It was that protest and that charged moment that told me that, no matter what I’m doing, my real work is going to be on the streets, working with marginalized and oppressed communities.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how my co-ops flowed together. Nonprofit, law, policy, advocacy… Those career paths are of great interest to me and I want to take the time to explore all of them while I can. I think my challenge will be finding areas that reflect my values and needs while also paying a living wage. There is important work to be done, and there aren’t enough people doing that work. At the end of the day, my end goal must be for all people to live happy, healthy, grounded lives in an environment that is whole and just.

So, as I theorize about my next steps moving forward after my four-year adventure at Antioch College, I think that I will give more thought to working in jobs that provide direct services to working-class communities. I am going to do some research on post-graduate fellowships that focus on work with immigrants and minorities and apply to some this fall and winter. I don’t know exactly what I’m doing but, with my past co-op experiences and my sheer nerve, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Photo credit:

Share Post
Written by

Angel Nalubega is a rising senior at Antioch College. Her major is History with a special focus on social movements and oppressed minorities in the 20th century.

No comments