January 24, 2011 - 8:24 PM
Today Van Jones, President Obama's former Green Jobs advisor, visited campus to give a lecture on his book the "Green Collar Economy." His visit was a part of the Oregon Humanities Center's Sustenance Lecture series. As part of my Transformative Leadership class, I was also invited to a student coffee hour before his talk, which was an amazing experience.
To actually be sitting around a table with ten other students while listening to one of society's most influential environmental and social activists was really a once in a life opportunity that I feel honored to have been a part of.
He candidly answered our questions without shying away from being brutally honest about the country my generation is inheriting. My favorite quote from his hour and a half long talk with the group was, " Quit waiting for Barack Obama. This is real shit. If you think help is on the way, it's not. You are the help."
Hearing about how he got his start in campus politics and worked his way into the White House was really inspiring even though it's not something I aspire to be a part of. Most of the students in attendance at the coffee hour were members of the Climate Justice League, a popular environmental group on campus.
In his speech later that night in the EMU Ballroom, he spoke extensively on how he thinks creating job training programs to train people to install solar panels and work on wind turbines is one way to pull the country back together in the midst of a severe economic downturn. All in all, I really enjoyed hearing from such an inspiring and visionary world leader.