Reporting from Traverse City
Rebecca Fisher ’17 is exploring the nonprofit world this summer through an internship with the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), an advocacy group in Traverse City, Mich., that protects the environment, strengthens the economy, and builds community in the area. The internship is sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.
Fisher has multiple responsibilities as a communications and development intern, but she primarily spends her time writing articles about the Institute’s three main programs: transportation, food and farming, and clean energy. Her assignments are open-ended, and she says the parameters encourage her to use her intuition and get creative. On the development side, Fisher helps plan fundraising events and makes stewardship calls thanking donors.
The anthropology major says that she was attracted to the organization (which was founded by journalist Keith Schneider ’78) because of its multi-pronged approach to advocacy. “Often in politics and in the media there is a dichotomy created between environmental and economic interests,” she says, “and MLUI does a fantastic job of saying that we can have both.” As examples, Fisher points to the multiple economic and environmental benefits of eating local foods, investing in clean energy, and commuting in sustainable ways. “Green” projects like these often have the ability to create jobs, promote innovation, reduce costs, and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Overall, Fisher has been impressed by the high level of community involvement and engagement with the landscape she has observed in Traverse City, which has a sizeable waterfront on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. “Water in Michigan defines the experience of what it means to live here, and people are in touch with water in a way I've never seen or experienced before,” she says. “This place is incredible, really.”
—Sam Fox ’14