Green Umbrella Climate Action Team Hosts Three Interns from Oberlin College

Oberlin campus

Every year, Oberlin students get to spend their January as a “Winter Term,” completing an independent project or internship with an organization or company. We were fortunate to host Alex Weintraub, Ana Santos, and Elijah Busch.

Published January 31, 2023

Oberlin campus
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In January 2023, the Climate Action team hosted three interns from Oberlin College. Every year, Oberlin students get to spend their January as a “Winter Term,” completing an independent project or internship with an organization or company. We were fortunate to host Alex Weintraub, Ana Santos, and Elijah Busch. Read on to hear about their background, what work they supported at Green Umbrella, and some key takeaways!

Alex Weintraub

Hello everyone, my name is Alex Weintraub and I had the incredible opportunity to do a climate policy internship at Green Umbrella. This month-long micro-internship was made possible as part of the January winter term experience at Oberlin College. I am a first year student, and I am pursuing a double major in Engineering and Geoscience. I am passionate about climate justice and advocacy, and I am interested in the field of environmental studies. I have lots of experience doing climate policy work from previous internship experiences, so I easily fit in at Green Umbrella. 

My internship was primarily focussed on data analysis and collection. My first project consisted of developing a baseline analysis for which to determine the state of climate preparedness within local communities in Green Umbrella’s Regional Climate Collaborative. I designed an interactive dashboard which will show the effectiveness of the RCC in its mission to provide effective support to local communities in the fight against climate change. In my second project, I was tasked with designing a survey which seeks to measure the performance of local governments in combating climate change. This survey is linked to another dashboard, which will highlight the results in a way that will allow the Regional Climate Collaborative to track the most important indicators of local government climate preparedness such as greenhouse gas emissions, climate funding, and sustainable infrastructure needs.

The climate policy internship at Green Umbrella was an incredible experience which I greatly value. I am thankful for this great opportunity to make a difference in Cincinnati and the surrounding area. 

Ana Santos

My name is Ana Santos, and I am a first year student at Oberlin College. While I haven’t declared a major yet, I will likely study Politics. I have always taken an interest in both climate and food justice, and I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue my interests with Green Umbrella as a Climate Action and Food Justice Intern. Climate action and food justice are two pressing issues of our time that are deeply interconnected. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in an internship focused on these issues. As part of the program, I worked with a team of dedicated individuals who are committed to promoting sustainable food systems and fighting against the negative effects of climate change that disproportionately affect marginalized populations.

For my work with Green Umbrella, I set two learning goals: gaining a greater understanding of the policy process and translating community needs into policy recommendations, as well as translating policy recommendations for community understanding. 

Part of this communication process that I explored with Green Umbrella included social media posts, which I created to inform the general public on food sovereignty, or the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food, and the idea of food as medicine, which refers to the intersection between nutrition and healthcare. I was also sure I identified local organizations like our harvest, freestore food bank, and produce perks that address food sovereignty and food as medicine. Additionally, I worked with the Food Policy Council to create a presentation for new members on the intersection between food sovereignty and food as medicine. While conducting research I found that food sovereignty is closely tied to the idea of food as medicine, as it acknowledges the crucial role that food plays in maintaining health and well-being. Additionally, my research demonstrated when individuals and communities have control over their food systems, they are able to make informed decisions about what they eat, and to prioritize healthy and nutritious foods. I designed this slideshow with the intention to be able to pass on knowledge to others to be able to work on or conduct research on food as medicine and food as sovereignty. 

For both of my positions I conducted research on local and national organizations. For my Climate Action internship, I looked at different organizations and working groups within the Regional Climate Collaborative with the intention of developing two working groups, the “Community Listening and Engagement Working Group,” and the “Preparing Partners and People Working Group.” I identified organizations within the Collaborative that focused on equity and justice and frontline communities. Researching working groups within the Collaborative gave me a greater understanding of the policy process within such organizations, and the way that these organizations influence the policy process. This project translated well into my research on local organizations within the ten counties served by Green Umbrella that helped frontline communities. For my Food Justice internship, I created a landscape analysis of the counties served by Green Umbrella, focusing on data on income level, health rates, food insecurity rates, population statistics, racial demographics, and agricultural statistics. 

This internship was a valuable learning experience that allowed me to gain hands-on experience working towards sustainable food systems and climate action. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such a meaningful cause, and I am excited to continue working towards a more sustainable and just future for our planet and its people.

Elijah Busch

My name is Elijah Busch and I am currently a second-year student at Oberlin College, majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience. I was excited to gain valuable experience in the field of climate action through my internship at Green Umbrella. My passion for the environment was fostered by previous experiences working in the temperate rainforest of Sitka, Alaska and participating in Outward Bound trips in the Northwest Cascade Mountains. My goal for this internship was to make a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change.

During my time at Green Umbrella, I was responsible for researching and compiling information on upcoming 2023 elections in the ten-county regional area. This included identifying the locations and jurisdictions of the elections, such as cities, villages, and townships. Additionally, I researched and analyzed case studies on how to best engage potential candidates and assist them in creating a climate-based platform. This research will be used to inform Green Umbrella’s efforts to support and promote climate-conscious candidates in the 2023 elections.

In addition, I worked on the development of a regional climate action playbook for Green Umbrella by researching and analyzing existing examples of similar playbooks from other regions. This involved writing in-depth analyses of their strengths and weaknesses, identifying best practices, and recommending strategies for Green Umbrella to consider as they create their own playbook.

Throughout this internship, I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of community engagement and grassroots efforts in the fight against climate change. I also learned the value of researching and analyzing existing examples as a tool for developing effective strategies. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such a dedicated and passionate team at Green Umbrella and am excited to continue working towards a more sustainable future.

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