BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU graduate Jack Green’s last semester at LSU focused on his classes and a presidential campaign, as member of the Biden-Harris campaign’s Climate, Energy and Environment committee.
“The committee offered advice on the policies and initiatives of the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, and I was absolutely one of the youngest people that I saw in the group. I was incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to be listened to and seen as an equal among the others on the committee,” Green said. “I’ve been in many situations in the past where young people were tokenized and involved just to the extent so that someone could take credit for involving young people but not meaningfully listen to them – this was not one of those cases.”
The Lake Charles, La.-native and Ogden Honors College student said he learned about the opportunity through a friend.
“I ended up applying (to the committee) not really thinking I would hear back, but knowing that if I did somehow get in, it could be a great experience. The group ended up working throughout the presidential campaign season,” Green said.
“I grew up in a French-creole family near the disappearing Louisiana coastline in a city, Lake Charles, that this year was nearly leveled by a catastrophic hurricane season. I believe that myself, and the people I grew up with, need to be the first people in the room when discussing the future of U.S. environment and energy policy specifically because it is our home, sense of place, family history, and culture that is expected to be underwater by the end of the century, if we continue to drag our feet in addressing sea level rise,” said Green.
He brought his personal experiences with him to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual meeting last December in Madrid as a delegate for the American Chemical Society.
“Going from graduating high school not really knowing where I wanted to go in my career to three years later being able to be present at and interact with the largest platform of addressing the threats of climate change in the world based on my merits as an LSU student has to be the highlight of my undergraduate career. This experience really clarified my career goals and allowed me to interact with people from all age groups over the world who, like me, were just concerned about the future of their community and wanted to make a difference,” said Green.
Green is currently the co-director for Louisiana Youth Platform, a non-partisan political advocacy group comprised of young people across the entire state with the goal of emphasizing the role of young people as political stakeholders. He’s also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Udall Scholarship, awarded to students throughout the nation. Green received the award in 2018 and 2019 for environmental leadership and is one of two LSU students to win the scholarship two years in a row.
“Based on current projections, my generation will be the one who will have to live with the most serious impacts of climate change, not the generation of people in office. So, it’s only logical to me that we have a voice in the room in groups like this,” said Green.
On Friday, Green will graduate with dual degrees and college honors: applied coastal environmental science and political science, with a concentration in international politics and law. His next steps are being accepted into a master’s degree program to study international policy with an emphasis on climate change and the environment.
“Until then, I am planning on working in, or remotely from, Washington, D.C., either within an agency or for a non-profit. With a new administration coming in, I want to continue to show that young people from frontline communities affected by environmental issues can and should be valid stakeholders in the policy making process,” said Green.
But he recommends current LSU students find clubs or groups that speak to them.
“Cast a wide net. There are so many opportunities here and so many avenues to find your passion. Once you lock down on that passion and discover your ‘why,’ follow that one thing as hard as you can for the rest of your time here and don’t be scared to take a step back from the things that you don’t feel as fulfilled by,” Green said.
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