Alumna Spotlight: Audrey Beedle

Audrey Beedle
Tue, 11/19/2019 - 22:41

Name: Audrey Beedle

Majors and minors while at UNL: Global Studies & Political Science, minors in French and Human Rights & Humanitarian Affairs, Class of 2017

On and Off Campus Involvement: ASUN Senator for the College of Arts & Sciences, member of the ASUN Government Liaison and Diversity & Inclusion Committees, VP of the UNL Young Democrats, member of Alpha Phi, Director of Communications with Blue Fire Strategies, LLC (working on 4 state legislative races & 1 county commissioner), Field organizer on Mayor Beutler's Re-Election Campaign with the Lancaster County Democrats

What have you been up to since graduation?
After I graduated from UNL in 2017, I did a year-long program with Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing. In my first year, I worked on a corporate accountability campaign in New Orleans to reform our food system. Then, I moved to Pennsylvania and worked on a campaign to advocate for federal climate defense and 100% renewable energy statewide. Finally, I directed a summer canvass office in the Midwest working to reduce single-use plastics and push for statewide bans on polystyrene foam cups and takeout containers in Iowa & Missouri. After my first year with Green Corps, I decided to stay with the organization and took on the role of Lead Organizer where I led 3 additional environmental campaigns across the country and helped to oversee and manage two first-year organizers. Together, we helped pass the Solar Access Act in Arkansas to make solar energy more affordable across the state. Now, I'm in my third year with Green Corps as the Development Associate. I manage our grassroots fundraising, grant-writing, and donor cultivation to ensure we have the financial resources to run our training program and run environmental campaigns.

Why did you decide to work with Green Corps?
I decided to work with Green Corps because a) I believe in the power of grassroots organizing to achieve structural change, b) I wanted to make an impact in my career after graduation and feel that the environment is a critical and extremely urgent issue to be working on and c) I was paid to learn the craft of organizing and gain invaluable experience early on in my career.

The Green Corps application process includes four distinct steps. First, you submit an initial application through the website (resume, cover letter + a few basic questions); second, you have a first-round phone or on-campus interview with a Green Corps staff member; third, you fill out a questionnaire (essay questions to submit online); and fourth, you do a final round interview either as part of a full-day in-person group interview or via skype depending on your location, time of year, etc.

Each year, Green Corps' year-long training program begins the first week of August and wraps up the last week of August. I started in August of 2017 with three weeks of orientation and classroom training in Chicago.

  • Audrey Beedle
    Audrey Beedle presenting lobby day in Little Rock, AR training our audience on how to lobby their elected officials, just days before the Solar Access act was signed into law.
  • Audrey Beedle
    Audrey Beedle speaking at our "Rally on the Riverfront" in New Orleans calling on Tyson Foods to clean up their feed crop supply chain that is contributing to a massive deadzone in the Gulf of Mexico..
  • Audrey Beedle
    Audrey Beedle at a Green Corps classroom training in a small group in Denver with the class of 2019.

Some of the benefits of working with Green Corps include: having an incredible amount of responsibility in your first job out of college, making an impact on real environmental and political campaigns that influence policy, elections, and the behavior of major corporations; meeting incredible like-minded people, getting to live in various cities across the U.S., and getting exposure to impressive environmental and social change leaders like Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org or Phil Radford, former Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.

Tell us about the program and your overall experience.
My experience with Green Corps is hard to put into words. It completely changed the trajectory of my career and my life. One of the aspects of Green Corps and organizing more generally that means the most to me is training other people on how to make an impact in their own communities on the issues that matter most to them. Being able to give your skills and empower someone else is incredibly rewarding personally, but it also pays off in the long-term when there are more strategic and well-trained change-makers out in the world. I stay in touch with people I've met in each city I've lived and worked in over the past couple of years, many of whom are still organizing, still working on the campaign we started together, or even launching their careers in advocacy and organizing work of some kind.

More specifically, when I was working in Little Rock, AR with Audubon Arkansas, we were trying to update the state's policies on solar energy for the first time in 18 years. Arkansas isn't thought of as the most cutting edge when it comes to renewable energy, yet it ranks 11th in the U.S. for solar potential. Before our campaign in the spring of 2019, Arkansas ranked nearly last in solar infrastructure despite its incredible capacity for solar energy. I worked alongside Audubon Arkansas' Executive Director and the National Audubon Society's National Campaign Director to craft a tactical plan to help pass the Solar Access Act removing unnecessary barriers to solar energy for everyday Arkansans. After just four weeks in Little Rock, I coordinated a campaign kickoff meeting that turned out 80 people, including two members of the AR state legislature. In just over three months, our team collected over 2,000 petition signatures, held a lobby day at the capitol where trained people to lobby their elected officials, got media attention in local news outlets, built a diverse coalition of local businesses and organizations, and developed a team of community leaders who were well-trained and motivated for a clean energy future in Arkansas. Just before myself and my fellow Green Corps organizer left the state, the bill passed and was signed into law. We fought tooth and nail up until the very last minute when an oil and gas lobbyist tried to sabotage our bill in its final vote, yet we ended up getting the bill passed in a bipartisan manner and empowered hundreds of people along the way who are ready to make sure that the implementation is done right and to keep chipping away at environmental progress in their home state. For me, making progress on solar energy in Arkansas is a great example that organizing works even in a politically tumultuous time and that environmental issues impact everyone.

What is your advice for current GLST majors interested in applying for similar opportunities in the future?
My advice is to go for it! Even if the application sounds rigorous and the program or position is selective, you'll never know unless you try. Employers everywhere are looking for ambitious, hard-working, and honest people to join their teams and Huskers make excellent candidates for any career path they want to pursue. Don't be intimidated by other candidates who went to different schools, they are no more deserving of any given position than you are. Say yes to a challenge. Don't do the thing that seems the easiest. Get out of your comfort zone and work really hard to achieve something incredible. Don't say what you think people want to hear in your application or during any interview processes. The best way to determine if you're a good fit for you and for your potential employer is to actually be yourself. Fancy jargon only goes so far. Don't just tell them what you've done, but show them by explaining in detail what you have accomplished and how you've gotten to where you are today. Lastly, don't take yourself too seriously :) No single job, interview, or application is make or break. There is no one path to success. Chart your own path and don't let society's definition of success limit you in any way. Good luck and go huskers!