USCAN Conference: An Intern's Perspective

It was a warm Tuesday morning in Chicago two weeks ago and you could feel the humidity in the air.  I was excited, nervous, and a little skeptical about attending my first conference.  Two other Earth Day Network interns and I were granted the incredible opportunity to fly out to Chicago and represent Earth Day Network at the annual USCAN Conference.  After a long day of traveling and a well needed night of sleep, I headed out around 6:45am, to ensure I would make the first 7:30am networking breakfast on time.  It was the first official USCAN conference event, and being late was not an option. The scenic drive through downtown Chicago rid me of any remaining nerves and skepticism. 

I had never been to a conference before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but by the end of Wednesday, I found myself a little sad knowing that I had to leave the next day.  This conference brought together passionate people from various environmental organizations across the country.  For two days, I got the opportunity to meet various professionals working in the environmental industry, listen to intelligent speakers (including Gina McCarthy, administrator of the EPA), attend thought-provoking panels and explore the city of Chicago.

Sitting here in the Earth Day Network intern office, I think about how wonderful it was to be surrounded by so many passionate people for those two days.  It’s through the work and effort from people like those in USCAN network and at the conference that make me excited to pursue a career doing work with the environment.  Every single person I met at the conference has dedicated their life, in some way, to creating a more sustainable environment through fighting climate change. 

To say the conference was good would be an understatement.  Being at the conference was not only motivating but eye opening at the same time.  I now know the difference I can make is immense.  I couldn’t be more thankful to Earth Day Network for such an encouraging experience. 

By Leah Ford, EDN intern