Alumni Spotlight: June 2009
CONNECTING CPS TO A PROFESSION IN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
MIRIAM PARSON '08
The work that I did at CPS was an impetus to join the movement for social justice in all the work that I do. Since leaving Gettysburg a year ago, I have organized campaigns with young people to defend voting rights and protect our environment, and I am now working to implement the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. This necessary work for environmental, social, sustainable justice is greatly rooted in the ideas learned at Gettysburg College.
My time at CPS was deeply formative. While I organized events like Fiesta and service teams like Generación Diez tutors, I found a community of young people dedicated to learning our role in the movement for justice. It was at CPS that I learned about institutional racism, migrant labor, and privilege. It was CPS that gave me language to more productively discuss oppression, my role as a white American, and our immigration policy.
While I learned about my identity and how it intersects with policy issues, I spent time in the classroom learning about food security, international economics, and land use. My senior year, I lived abroad in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua studying sustainable development. While we had discussed issues of inequity at CPS and I had learned about sustainability in class, it was in Central America that the common foundation of social justice really solidified. When I returned, CPS gave me the opportunity to be the first Sustainability Coordinator and establish programs around the confluence of sustainability and social justice.
Through partnership and leadership, this opportunity confirmed for me that sustainability is all about community. By striving for mutual learning, we must seek out and connect to those who are separate in order to build sustainable communities.
This ideal of building a sustainable community has been my foundation in my work since graduation.