This may be old news to some of you, but because the student blogs are just starting up again, I figured it’s acceptable to draw on my experience as a summer intern for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (yes, I know most of you would know the acronym, but it’s fun for me to throw the whole title around). I worked with the speech writing department in the Office of the Administrator, and my first day of work was the day on which EPA made the biggest announcement of the past twenty-odd years – so my first impression of my supervisor was him running out of the office, shouting expletives, on his way to the press conference. Basically, this internship put me at only two degrees of separation from the Grand Poobah, the Chief of the Pecking Order, the Muckiest of the Mucky-Mucks, Administrator Gina McCarthy herself. When she came to Tacoma in early August, I sent some restaurant recommendations over to her schedulers (which made me quite jealous, because I have a distinct preference for one Washington over the other). I have no idea whether or not anyone made use of my suggestions, but don’t burst my bubble.
This internship was a fantastic experience, and I learned a lot about U.S. environmental policy – and also about public perception of U.S. environmental policy. I have a certain fondness for water and water-related issues, so one of my favorite speeches to work on was given at an agricultural conference on the subject of the Clean Water Proposal. Not only was this a policy area in which I was particularly interested, but it was also an intriguing situation because the agriculture industry is not all that fond of EPA. I don’t imagine that giving a speech to a hostile audience is very fun – but writing one is, especially when some (note: not all) of the arguments you’re rebutting sound like the one dismissed in the title of this blog post.
So, how does this relate to student life at Puget Sound? Well, Puget Sound was represented in EPA’s Office of the Administrator, alongside places like Boston University, Cornell, and George Washington University, and I think that’s pretty cool. (We’ve been represented on Capitol Hill occasionally as well.) Also, speaking as someone who has loved UPS since I saw it for the first time the day before freshman move-in day but was somewhat concerned because no one in the DC area had heard of it, I am delighted to somewhat alleviate some of your fears: no, we does not have the name recognition factor that big public and private universities have. But – and this is an important “but” – that’s okay; it won’t limit your options. Because wherever you are, you’ll have to make your own opportunities, so might as well be somewhere you love.
Gotta love clichés.