Alumni Spotlight: Brianna Besch

We are now accepting applications to participate in our 2013 Summer of Solutions programs!  Apply here!

Hello!  My name is Brianna and I first got involved with Summer of Solutions the summer after my first year at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. That summer my parents were moving from Cairo, Egypt, where I lived for my last three years of high school, to Bethesda, Maryland just outside of DC. I couldn’t really spend the summer ‘at home’ and wanted to do something more engaging than visiting relatives and cleaning the new house. I heard about SoS through my work with Cooperative Energy Futures, an energy efficiency co-op that was started by a lot of the same folks that SoS was founded by. I was already passionate about environmental issues both in the US and around the world, and excited to learn more about the Twin Cities. Given how much I respected the people I worked with in CEF, and how highly they spoke of the program, it seemed like a perfect opportunity.1

I still remember the first week of Summer of Solutions training as one of the most inspiring things I have ever done. Almost thirty young people coming together, not just to study the problems our world is facing, but to go out there and make a difference, to enact our common vision of a more sustainable and just world together. The projects we were undertaking weren’t small, and we all acknowledged the immense challenges in their implementation.  But we were also working together to create change that would significantly alter the status quo. I spent that summer creating a community asset map and working to build Cooperative Energy Futures programs, calculating the solar potential of a Ford plant we were working to turn into a green manufacturing hub, and bonding with fellow SoSers and community members at community gardens. While this work was inspiring, the thing that stuck with me most is the groups attention to anti-oppression trainings.  We reflected upon how we were interacting with the people around us, not just what we were doing, to ensure it was mutually beneficial and creating healthy relationship as the basis for sustainable change.

2While I haven’t been heavily involved with SoS since that summer, it was highly influential in shaping my interest, and hopefully future career path, in small-scale, sustainable, community development and mitigating and adapting to climate change. As a senior, I am only beginning to see how truly valuable the concrete skills in organizing, facilitation, and communication that I began developing during SoS are for a young person about to graduate from a liberal arts college.

3While I am sometimes crushed by the challenges our generation faces from global environmental threats, the vision of the future I gained that summer has stuck with me ever since.  Being supported by such passionate and dedicated people working to find solutions to these problems together continually gives me hope for the future. For young people who are concerned about the future of the planet, with a passion for enacting solutions to these problems rather than waiting for others to take the first step, I can’t recommend Summer of Solutions highly enough.

– Brianna Besch


Calling all Solutionaries!  The National Participant Application for all Summer of Solutions programs is now open!

During the Summer of Solutions, you will receive training in community organizing and sustainable community development techniques. You will use these skills to demonstrate the promise of energy efficiency, community-based energy, green industry, local food production, and/or smart design as described in the locations you choose. Beyond the concrete skills you learn, Summer of Solutions will be a really fun community-based experience. It is a great chance to grow with, learn from, and work with other incredible young people and community leaders who are building a better future.

Not sure if you should apply?  Follow our new blog series, Alumni Spotlights, to hear from past Summer of Solutions participants about how their experience changed their life and prepared them for a life of solutionary work!

Now accepting participant applications: Arleta, CA; Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; Iowa City, IA; Ithaca, NY; Johnson City, TN; Lexington, KY; Little Rock, AR; Middleton, WI; Oakland, CA; Raleigh, NC; Southern West Virginia; Twin Cities, MN; and Washington, DC!

Applications for the final round are due on 4/14/2013. Some programs may keep their local applications open beyond 4/14, but there is no guarantee that any specific program will do so.

Find more details and the online application here!

1 thought on “Alumni Spotlight: Brianna Besch

  1. Pingback: Inspiration to Join Summer of Solutions 2013 by April 14th! | Solutionaries

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