I went to New York City to visit four nonprofits in the area that are engaged in sustainable development. These organizations were selected to complement the work that we are doing in the Council of Sustainable Leaders. The Moth focuses on using storytelling to address difficult social issues in our country. We were able to observe how to engage an audience effectively, learn about the technical equipment that they had utilized, and finally how they coached the speakers to tell moving stories. ForceBlue is an organization that provides jobs to veterans with PTSD and issues coming back to civilian life by putting them to work as divers. We learned how the nonprofit is able to function financially and logistically. At WeDo, we were able to talk to a staff member to see how they are able to change policy with such a small organization. At Business for Social Responsibility I was able to see what the industry looks for in a job candidate and helped me start on some of the certifications that they use. Finally, at the United Nations, we were able to talk to some of the staff and actually observe a few of the committees in session.
One of the most interesting conversations that I had was with someone who had worked at the United Nations. She was actually part of the team that helped to research and create the Sustainable Development Goals that I use in my work at Penn State. She worked on Goal Number 6 which is access to clean water and sanitation. This is what I have based my startup company on which I am working on with Happy Valley Launchbox, as well as some of the work that I do at the Sustainability Institute. I was able to gain knowledge of the background of this goal as well as more in-depth analysis of the motivations behind it. This same woman, Emily, from Business for Social Responsibility, was able to show me certifications that I should be working on to increase my chances of landing a job in the field that I want. I also think that this experience was important to me to see the inner workings of nonprofit organizations and how to effectively work on local problems. We were able to make an impact on a few of these stakeholders by creating collaborative projects that we plan to continue working on such as potentially speaking at the University.
Most of my classes have had some focus on the Sustainable Development Goals in one way or another. The United Nations highlighted the policy aspects of my major that I will continue taking classes. It was interesting seeing the principles of nonprofits that I have learned about in classes actually implemented in the real world.
This experience will play a large role in my post-graduation plans. I will be able to stand out as a well-prepared candidate for the career that I am pursuing in Corporate Sustainability Reporting thanks to the meetings that I had. I also have a lot more professional experience that I will be able to use to continue to build my network of connections and experience in an actual industry. Nonprofit work is very interesting to me and I was able to see inside of how they function which is helpful in figuring out where I want to work.