The PC Green
P.C. Goes to D.C.!
In the cold of early February, P.C. went to D.C.! A combined group of middle and upper school Green Club members took the bus to D.C. to work with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. F.C.N.L's "nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues" (http://fcnl.org/about/). This faith-based group also works with Quaker schools to engage students directly in our political system, teaching them how citizen lobbying can be an effective communication tool with our elected leaders. After an afternoon discussion of current environmental issues and legislation, we role played to practice our lobbying techniques. Specifically, we would be lobbying on behalf of the "Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill," which is a win-win-win in terms of jobs, money savings, and CO2 reductions.
That evening (a VERY cold, windy evening) we walked to Union Station for some dinner, bonding, and shuffleboard. After another brisk walk back to the William Penn House, a wonderful Quaker "hostel" on Capitol Hill, we practiced our "stories." These "stories" were the students' personal connections, passions, and interests that drive their environmental advocacy, and would be focal points in our lobby sessions.
The next morning, we hustled out early for some final practice before heading to the Russel Senate Building. We met with legislative aids from Senator Toomey's and Senator Casey's offices, and then met with Congressman Fattah himself. The students were incredible! They spoke so articulately, passionately, and maturely about why the environment matters and why the Shaheen-Portman Bill deserves passage. The students were in charge of the entire meeting; us faculty could sit quietly and admire their poise.
A nice, quiet bus ride back, and the P.C. lobbyists returned with valuable lessons in environmental stewardship, civics, lobbying, and shuffleboard. I hope this marks a new tradition of direct environmental advocacy and action!
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