Master of Arts in Sustainable Development:
Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change, Brattleboro, VT

Reflective Practice Phase

“I chose to work with the BlueGreen Alliance because I believe they embody many characteristics needed to create sustainable communities.”

--Thaddeus Copeland

Spotlight on Thaddeus Copeland, MA in Sustainable Development

For his practicum phase, Thaddeus Copeland worked for six months in Washington, DC, as a legislative intern at the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental groups that works to promote the growth of green jobs. While there, he created and contributed to advocacy materials, authored a water policy position statement, researched policy statements and congressional voting records, and coordinated with coalition members on working to achieve legislative goals.

“I chose to work with the BlueGreen Alliance,” Thaddeus explains, “because I believe they embody many characteristics needed to create sustainable communities. Their focus on advocating for fair, livable wages for workers and promoting policies to transform our carbon-based economy is vital to achieving healthy, safe communities and a clean environment.”

Thaddeus says his coursework at SIT’s Vermont campus prepared him for his practicum in several ways. “My coursework in core sustainable development classes provided me with a vernacular and understanding of broader issues that were useful as I defined my own interest within the field. Additionally, the Policy Advocacy course gave me a solid framework of theory and examples that guided my research and practice during my practicum placement.”

The practicum gave Thaddeus a chance for more focused learning. “The internship has given me the opportunity to see the opportunities, frustrations, and realities of policy advocacy/implementation at the national level,” he says. He also came away from the internship with a deeper understanding of the federal government and its role in job creation and support, a familiarity with legislative issues, enhanced researching skills, and an appreciation for the importance of labor unions.

The internship also gave him practical experience in policy research and writing and in coalition building, but he wants to learn more. He describes his goal moving forward as follows: “To broaden my policy advocacy experience by working with communities on the implementation and education of green economy initiatives.”

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