Sean Morrissey ’24

Environment America, Denver, CO

This summer I worked as an events coordinator intern for Environment America, the national environmental nonprofit, to help plan and coordinate a series of webinars relating to forest conservation. Environment America is a member of the climate forests campaign—a campaign containing a coalition of more than 100 environmental advocacy groups across the country. The purpose of the campaign is to convince the Biden administration, and specifically the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, to enact a hard federal rule against any additional logging of old-growth forests and maturing forests in areas where old-growth forests do not exist.

Sean Morrissey at a rally.This campaign is using public webinars to educate people about threats faced by our forests and to build public support for conservation. My job was to initiate the planning process as well as to help plan and organize each individual webinar. I researched conservation organizations across the country, focusing on the states containing the most old-growth forests—mostly the large western states—and contacting the organizations about potentially co-hosting a regional or state-specific webinar with us as part of the campaign. I set up virtual meetings with interested organizations where my supervisor, Len, and I would explain the campaign and our goals and begin planning the regional webinar. We collaborated to find speakers who are especially knowledgeable about the challenges faced by forests in their regions or states. Prior to each webinar, I organized a run-of-show with the speakers. I also organized a phone bank event with other interns, to confirm with the people who RSVP’d for the webinar and let them know that we were looking forward to seeing them. During the actual webinar I would control the slides while the speakers presented.

From this experience I learned that while conservation and advocacy work is important to me, it isn’t really what I want to go into as a career. However, my internship also helped motivate me to think about my future career, and I’ve landed on urban planning as a desired career path. I like how urban planning has the potential to incorporate environmental solutions as well as improve the daily lives of so many people. I’ve had a few chats with Williams alumni on EphLink to discuss urban planning as a career, and I feel good about what I have learned so far.

I am so grateful that I was able to live in Boston over the summer and participate in this amazing experience, none of which would have been possible with the support from the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program. Living in Boston helped me realize that I want to help design cities in an environmentally and human-friendly way. I also built many relationships with people in many different spheres of my life, be it school, church, community and my internship, and I know I will carry these bonds with me well into the future.