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Environmental Justice Work With Metropolitan Congregations United

Environmental Studies’ Impact Internship program places a WashU student with Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) to support their regional environmental justice work. Impact Intern, Allie Lively, shares a reflection on her semester working with MCU.

During my internship with Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) I noticed how little I initially knew about the environmental justice issues that were actually occurring within the St. Louis communities around WashU. Sometimes it can be difficult as a student who has a full workload and is involved on campus to get out into the community and make a positive impact, but this program gave me the opportunity to do just that. Although I still wonder how the issues I worked with throughout the semester can be prevented, I was so thrilled to get out into the St. Louis community and help tackle an environmental justice issue that has negatively impacted community members. 

Throughout the semester I was able to make many professional connections with employees and volunteers working with Metropolitan Congregations United. I was able to work on projects I was passionate about with people who shared the same enthusiasm for solving these issues. All the members of staff I worked with made me feel so welcome and involved with projects and truly cared about my learning process and professional exposure. Because of this I was able to enhance my professional connections, knowledge, communication, and understanding of community organizing in the St. Louis area. 

At the beginning of the semester, I had a goal for myself of increasing my professional communication skills as well as increasing my time management skills. As a student who is active with on-campus activities, holds two jobs, and is enrolled in a full course load, I was concerned about staying organized and on track. With the help of my supervisor and the members of the MCU team, I was able to increase my organizational skills while also adhering to project deadlines. By utilizing weekly meetings with my supervisor and other team members, as well as regular email communications, I was kept in the loop and on track for the projects I was involved with. I learned so many valuable skills during my time with MCU and truly believe that this program helped me enhance skills that I will use throughout my future professional career.