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Sarah Bedolfe ’11

41c_bedolfe_sarah.jpgSarah Bedolfe '11, a biology major with minors in environmental studies and psychology, worked as a canvasser for PennEnvironment, whose mission is to bring about change through political advocacy.

My job was to go door to door to speak with people about—and collect contributions for—renewing “Growing Greener,” a government program that protects Pennsylvania’s open spaces. I also worked as a field manager and accompanied small groups of canvassers out to our “turf,” the area where we were scheduled to work for the day.

We typically canvassed from between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and a typical field manager’s work day ran from 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. We canvassed outdoors in neighborhoods throughout the greater Philly region, rain or shine, including those awful 100 plus-degree, midsummer days.

One day, I knocked on the door of someone who was happy to talk to me because he had once worked as a canvasser himself. He described it as “the hardest job and the best job I’ve ever had.” Despite—or maybe because of—the challenges, I feel that I gained confidence and patience, improved my skills in speaking and persuasion, and got to see what it takes to make environmental policy change at the grassroots level.

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