Trip to DC – Week Three

Last week before the campaign trip!

Whales Special Project

During our meeting with Phil Kline (head of Oceans campaign) the previous week, he mentioned a special project concerning the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting coming up this summer.  Monday was spent entirely on executing an “action” that we prepared related to this year’s meeting.  As part of the online team, I was responsible for writing a blog post for Greenpeace’s website on what we did;  Students Demand Whale Sanctuary.  The blog post has all the important details, but here are a couple of more thoughts that I have on the day.

Getting Ready to Hit the Streets!

First of all, it started off really well with a trip to Starbucks and a nice cold Green Tea Frappuchino.  Always a good way to start the day.   Once I got to the office, I helped crank out a couple more tumblr drafts and twitter post drafts.  Drafting posts beforehand really helped make posting across multiple social networks quick and easy.  I loved being able to post from the official Greenpeace Semester account.  One of the highlights of my day was being retweeted by the Greenpeace USA account.

On the Streets – Walking to the Next Embassy

Although we didn’t get to talk to any ambassadors directly, we experienced so much community support.  From the Asian club posing with the whale at Dupont Circle to the guy on a moped that circled back around to the countless honks from passing cars, we knew citizens were behind what we were doing.

We ended the day near the Capitol and quite ironically, ran into Dr. George Sedberry – a member of NOAA.  This week was whale week and there were a lot of events going on around the city.  Perfect timing for our action.

Final Picture at the Capitol

NPR Tour and Rally

On Tuesday, we got a sweet tour of NPR.  During the tour, we got to hear a performance in Studio 4A, talk to the team that does All Things Considered, and see the desk where the Tiny Desks Concerts are played.  I admit I didn’t appreciate the tour as much as I would have if I listened to NPR.  Still cool though.

NPR Headquarters

Back at the office, we met with a member of the research team for some more training.  He gave a brief overview of his work on the Koch brothers and showed us sites like opensecrets.org.  We then moved to the Portrait Gallery for a training on messaging and talking with reporters.  It was essentially a lesson on how to stay on topic.  A common response that we also practiced was “That’s a great question, but the reason we are out here today is…”.  For practice, our leaders pretended like they were reporters and asked us a ton of questions;  our goal was to keep on the message “My dog has three legs.”  It was quite difficult.

Wednesday morning we headed over to an Appalachia Rising rally (protesting mountain top removal practices) at the Capitol.  The rally was held at the same time that more than 20 people were risking arrest performing a sit-in at the Capitol.  Later I learned that one of my friends from Clemson was a part of the sit-in.  At the rally, we listened to some speakers, then volunteers came up and shaved their heads in solidarity.  Powerful.

Appalachia Rising Rally

After lunch, we practiced our messaging skills and also found out where we were going for our campaign trip.  Charlotte, NC baby!  Our leader explained how Duke has a large presence in Charlotte and that our focus was going to be talking to communities (that were next to coal plants) about the dangers of coal.  We were all extremely excited to tackle coal.  Class ended soon after, but since I didn’t have my blog post from our whale project done I stayed at the office for a couple of hours and went out to an Indian restaurant with some friends for supper.

Campaign Trip Preparation

For the rest of the week, we had class at the Warehouse and prepped for our campaign trip.  Thursday started with a quick overview of the Student Network by Dan Cannon;  he explained how we could get plugged in after the semester.  Next, we had a training on canvassing.  Technically canvassing involves asking people for money, but we still called it canvassing in preparation for the campaign trip even though we were just going to be asking for petition signatures.  We then broke out into our realms for the campaign trip.  This time I was put in the Phone Bank/Databasing realm.  Along with running a phone bank, my partner and I were responsible for databasing the signatures after each day.  The only other exciting thing that happened on Thursday was the physical challenge.  Justin, one of our leaders, likes to do various physical challenges when everyone gets tired.  Today was a plank challenge.  Everyone started in a front plank and we saw who could last the longest in a plank;  what’s cool was that we were allowed to switch in between a front and side plank as long as we didn’t touch the ground.  Justin and I hit 12 mins then I gave up hah.  Soreness the next couple of days was inevitable.

Making our Campaign Shirts

Friday was much of the same thing except we also went to get our campaign shirts screen-printed.  The process was supposed to be pretty basic, but they screwed up our stencil (forgot the technical term) a couple of times.  We passed the time playing ninja and an interesting clapping game.  Basically, you get in a big circle then go around clockwise and say the next number “1… 2…” .  Whenever your number has a three, six, or nine in it, you have to clap instead of saying the number.  Of course, you have to go fast and it’s not as easy as it sounds.  We finally got our shirts and I ended up riding home with Justin.  DJ rights were shared, so I got to play White Flag and explain Passion to him.  We wrapped up the day pretty late at the warehouse.

Cupcakes!

After an awesome early morning run, I headed out on the metro to Georgetown with one thing on my mind… cupcakes from the famous Georgetown Cupcake shop.   There were so many amazing cupcakes to choose from, but since I wasn’t heading home anytime soon I had to limit myself.  I ended up going with these four beauties:

Still dreaming about these…

I then hopped back on the metro and headed over to the Eastern Market.  It reminded me a lot of the Charleston Markets and proved to be a good place to pick up a few gifts for friends and family.  They also had a ton of incredible fresh food… wish I hadn’t gone to the grocery shop earlier.  It was super hot, so I again hopped on the metro and took it to downtown.

My original plan was to head to the Botanical Gardens, but I got sidetracked and headed into the Library of Congress.  Good decision.  There was so much good stuff to see here including Thomas Jefferson’s library, Sir Francis Drake maps, Columbus’ Diary, a Gutenberg Bible, and the first map produced of North America.  I couldn’t help think about National Treasure when I peered into the research room of the Library of Congress.  Eventually I made it to the Gardens.  Another incredible place to see.

Library of Congress

View of the Capitol from the Library of Congress

Taking a break near the Capitol

Making my way through the jungle…

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