WASHINGTON, PA (July 10, 2020)—Leading change is second nature to Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students.
Take Marilyn Burkhardt. The rising W&J senior, a Spanish and international studies major, wanted to use her time during quarantine in a productive way, and decided to volunteer with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), a bipartisan grassroots organization that lobbies for climate stability in national and local policy. On the local level, the organization works to educate the community and elected officials about the impacts of climate change and advocates for sustainable legislation.
After joining the Pittsburgh chapter and meeting with other CCL members, Marilyn became involved in conversations about starting a chapter in the PA-14 district, which includes Washington County.
“I became a part of the PA-14 group because in conversation with a member from the Pittsburgh chapter, I brought up that I live in Westmoreland County and go to school in Washington County, so he put me in touch with the man who was starting the new chapter in this area,” Marilyn said. “Right now, it is a very small group, but we are looking to expand soon. We have already had a successful meeting with the office of Congressman Guy Reschenthaler and plan to keep building on that momentum.”
Marilyn is helping the new chapter to grow by reaching out to people in the area who are climate conscious and spreading the word about CCL and its other national and global chapters.
But her work doesn’t stop there. Marilyn also found a volunteer opportunity with Animal Friends of Westmoreland County, where she helps to care for pets available for adoption and will soon assist at a separate location on a farm animal sanctuary.
“I think it’s really important to volunteer with organizations like this because it helps me be a part of something bigger than myself,” Marilyn said. “W&J had helped prepare me for these experiences (particularly climate advocacy) because I have learned to be confident in my interpersonal abilities, and I have learned how to develop meaningful professional relationships with people.”
Marilyn encourages those who are interested in giving back to get involved and invites questions from those interested in CCL or Animal Friends.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.