Renewable Energy in a New City

Changemaker Catalyst Award recipient Simone Seletsky interned at the American Council On Renewable Energy during summer 2017 to learn about widespread renewable energy implementation and gain sustainability experience. Simone is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Management.

Ever since I began learning about environmentalism, I have become really annoying. I constantly remind my roommates to turn off the lights, chastise my brothers for eating meat, and urge my friends to stop buying plastic water bottles, or at the very least, recycle. I’ve taken all of the measures that I can to help the environment and some of my friends even say that I’ve helped change their habits. Unfortunately, these small-scale measures are not the solution to climate change. I now study Environmental Studies at Tulane and plan to pursue a career that will focus on corporate sustainability.

Climate change, or the alteration of average weather patterns and environmental conditions due to an increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, drastically affects the environment, public health, national security, and the global economy. Climate change is a severe problem, but the future is not hopeless. Through sustainability work and the implementation of renewable energy, humanity will be able to decelerate global climate change effects.

Since I began studying Environmental Studies, my interest in renewable energy has grown exponentially. Tulane University does not offer any Environmental Studies courses based solely on renewable energy. Some previous courses that I have taken have touched on renewable energy, but never in detail. This past May, I took matters into my own hands and traveled with a short study abroad program to Iceland to learn about renewable energy. During this trip, I took classes where I learned about the different types of renewables and was able to visit renewable energy power plants. However, my classes and Icelandic expedition cannot compare to the amount of information I’ve learned as an intern at the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE).

ACORE is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that focuses on promoting a renewable energy economy through market growth and financial transformation. ACORE works with corporate and government personnel to advance the renewable energy sector. ACORE hosts multiple conferences per year to bring together key industry leaders and work to encourage the shift toward renewable energy sources. Currently, ACORE works with hundreds of companies to implement sustainable energy sources.

I learned so much from my experiences and coworkers during my summer as an ACORE intern. This internship gave me a lot of freedom, and I was able to utilize a substantial amount of time completing a personal research project titled Renewable Energy in the Private Sector and Barriers for Small and Medium Enterprises. I was able to attend weekly lectures and hearings regarding energy around Washington, DC. I was also give the opportunity to attend and work at a renewable energy finance conference in New York City hosted by ACORE. Additionally, I worked daily on many important projects, such as assisting in organizing a conference in San Francisco, analyzing and presenting on data, and reaching out to organizations with similar goals. The ACORE staff was extremely knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and I will leave this summer with an abundant amount of knowledge because of my projects and the people that I worked with.

I was able to have this great experience because of the Taylor Center. My grant allowed me to accept an unpaid internship in Washington, DC that will help me better the world and create a sustainable future. I was able to spend the summer in an amazing new city with dedicated people who are passionate about the same interests as me. I now believe that I have a firm grasp on renewable energy and that I will be able to utilize this information in my future. ACORE is creating a positive impact on the world, and I am so thankful that the Taylor Center gave me the help that I needed to be a part of such an amazing and invaluable organization.