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Green Graduate: Green Corps Review

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 9/14/2009
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Learn about this innovative program that pays you to get a master's degree in practical environmental activism.

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    The Struggle

    For environmental activists making claim about issues and moving forward social issues is not a part time recreation relegated to the sector as a passing hobbies. Many want to make this their lives work, and a career out of working against the odds to make serious changes. Most colleges and universities have programs that will gear people toward a degree in environmental and socially progressive issues, but when it comes to practical considerations many students end up graduating with a great repertoire of ideas and theory but little practical experience to support it. Instead of being able to take major positions in organizations and nonprofits working toward their goals they are unable to bring the correct skills to the table. Now the organization Green Corps has created a unique graduate program that synthesizes work on existing environmental campaigns with some of the standard classroom experience that you would expect from a master’s program. This ends up being one of the most interesting, and oddly successful, master’s programs related to the field of environmental activism that is offered within the United States.

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    Dual Models

    The one year master’s program labels itself as a graduate degree in Environmental Organizing. When you look at it is a complete synergy of two types of educational models. First you get a classroom experience that is aimed at reinforcing the correct set of skills and background knowledge about the issues at hand and the practical strategies for taking charge. In this part there are five different “tracks" that you can choose, which indicate your intended specialization. The skills track is supposed to ingrain “practical" activist skills, the issues and context track is for a more solid understanding of the topics at hand, the organization and building track is based on training students how to help maintain active organizations, the strategy pack is based on larger strategies for achieving environmental goals, and the organizing track looks at form of organization from the small to world wide level.

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    Practical Work

    From here you are directed toward the second aspect of the program, which is all practical campaign work. This is where the program truly stands out because it partners with a variety of existing environmental organizations and issues and allows students to not only contribute to causes that are currently building steam but also gives them the kind of practical experience that is going to make them stand out in this type of job market. The organization has stood up against the crimes committed by the bottled water company, fought to protect the artic wildlife refuge, and made a statement against organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank when it came to there attempts to privatize water. With this program students jump right into these issues within a framework of experienced professionals that guide and mold them so they will be able to create an entire life out of this.

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    Money

    The most important thing to look at in this program is the cost, which is absent. Instead they pay you an annual salary of over twenty seven thousand dollars with full benefits and paid vacation time. This is a real job, but with an educational component that ends your time there with a graduate degree. After completion they work on job placement among leading non-profit organizations and environmental groups that will let you have an actual career. For those who have decided to make their life in activism rather than passive conservation this may be one of the best choices out there. The program has a variety of locations for study, including representation on each coastline. Check these out, but make your location choices according to the campaigns you would prefer to work on instead of its proximity to home.






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