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Volunteer Spotlight: Adriana Rush ’22

By anjones1 on December 5, 2018

Adriana, left, at a rally for environmental issues.

Adriana Rush is a first year interested in exploring the humanities and social sciences at Colgate. Before coming to Colgate, she was involved in three main initiatives relating to nonprofit work. She canvassed for the Washington Environmental Council, pushing for green initiatives through legislation by promoting candidates that cared about environmental issues. She also has a fandom candle business called Magic Carrot Candles, part of which is nonprofit, with the proceeds going to different charities. Additionally, Adriana helped jump start “Schools Under 2°C”—a school-based organization working with elementary, middle, and high schools across the globe to lower their emissions. Adriana and 15 fellow students started received the Presidential Environmental Youth Award for this initiative. Learn more about her experience with the nonprofit sector below.

What does community service mean to you?

Simply going out there and doing something, really anything, that helps other people. And caring about making a difference as well as caring about whatever cause it is you are working for.

What has been one of your most meaningful experiences in the nonprofit sector?

There have been a few. I went canvassing for environmentally friendly candidates in various districts near my home, which was very enlightening as well as a meaningful experience. Additionally, I utilized my for-profit business, turning a large portion of into a nonprofit. Proceeds from our most popular products now go to various charities such as the Malala Fund and Greenpeace. Through that mechanism, we have raised over a thousand dollars for these causes.

Adriana, second from the right, as part of a winning team for Schools Under 2oC at the Itron Food, Energy, and Water Challenge in 2017.

How did you find this opportunity?

When the current President was elected and brought a wave of climate change denial with him to the White House, I was inspired to simply do something about it. I looked up local environmental organizations in my area and signed up to volunteer.

What was your experience like? What did you gain from this experience?

In terms of canvassing, I really enjoyed meeting other environmentalists like myself and going out into neighborhoods to talk about issues that I care about. Sometimes you meet people who are really receptive to what you’re saying and that’s great, but other times they just slam the door in your face. Even so, you know what you’re doing is helping fight for a good cause and there is definitely pride in that.

In terms of the nonprofit, it is incredibly rewarding to donate money that we made through hard work to organizations who really have the means to help people. It makes me very happy every time I see that a customer bought one of our nonprofit products because they can feel good about that purchase and we feel good about it as well.

How did this experience influence your plans for the future?

I definitely want to continue volunteering for environmental organizations in the future, but on top of that, I also want to have a job that does something good for people too. I don’t think I could be content working in a job that wasn’t working to improve people’s lives.

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