| The Great Land
Student Training for Environmental Protection
Two dozen students, including nine students from George Mason University, recently traveled to Prince
William Forest, part of the National Park System, right outside of Washington, D.C. to take part in a
weeklong training in environmental protection. During the week the students learned how to create a
successful group that will be able to run and manage effective environmental campaigns on their campus.
The program, called the Student Training for Environmental Protection (STEP), was run by the George
Mason University Office of Sustainability and sponsored in part by the Great Land Conservation Trust..
The program focused on giving students the skills and knowledge they need to create the change that will
turn passion for the environment into action that will protect it. Some of the workshops that were covered
include: Recruiting, Leadership Development, Coalition Building, Campaign Planning, Event Planning, as
well as, Public Speaking, How to get Media Attention, Message Development, and Lobbying.
The week culminated in a trip to Capitol Hill where students met with representatives of their Senator’s staff
to ask for their support of an improved American Clean Energy and Security Act. Altogether, over 30
young people from nine states and Puerto Rico participated in the training and met with their
Congressional staff to ask for a stronger climate bill.
Following in the footsteps of Power Shift 2009, the George Mason University Student Training for
Environmental Protection program allowed the participants to create bonds with other student organizers
from around the country while being trained and empowered with the skills needed to be part of the
movement that solves climate change, environmental injustice, and economic failure.
Testimonials from STEP participants:
If I went into STEP with any expectations, I definitely came out of STEP blown away because it far
exceeded any expectations I had. I learned more in a week than I have in previous years of my life. STEP
was a truly incredible experience with incredible people. You learn so much about yourself, about others,
and really how to make a difference in your community, on your campus, and when you are around
others. If you are looking to really learn about environmental leadership and activism, as well as a little bit
more about yourself, then STEP is for you. You will have fun, meet great people, and learn how to
empower yourself in the world around you.
-Ashley Mott, George Mason University Graduate Student
This single event has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life, I've already started to
organize events and actually get things done! Thank you!
-Odessa Knipp, Virginia Wesleyan Class of 2009
STEP really allowed me to connect with other organizers from across the country and beyond. I was able to
learn from their experiences and build wonderful new relationships. It's amazing what we could accomplish
in one week and I can't wait to hear about what we are all able to accomplish with the support and
knowledge we all got from STEP.
-Molly Shea, Ohio University Class of 2010