Applied Leadership Project Intern: Brittany Gutermuth
We've been fortunate to have Brittany join our team as Applied Leadership Project Intern via Naropa University, where she was completing her Master's degree in Environmental Leadership. While interning with RMPJC, Brittany took the initiative to launch our new Social Justice Collective and has been instrumental in engaging a younger demographic of activists and interested community members. We sat down with Brittany to learn more about her prior to her graduation from Naropa. Congrats to Brittany on the completion of her Master's degree!
What inspired you to intern with Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center?
I first learned of RMPJC from the picnic last summer. My interest was spiked through the event and some brief research I did on the group. It wasn't until meeting with the staff (Chris, Betty, Carolyn, and Judith) last September that I was truly inspired to join RMPJC. I felt synergy with the group as I noticed a cross over in the values that I hold with the values that RMPJC holds. The hard work that each member was dedicating to the betterment of our world, and their truly positive attitudes, was very encouraging.
What are you studying/learning and how does that relate to RMPJC?
I am currently working towards my Master's Degree in Environmental Leadership at Naropa University. Through the program we learn about key theoretical perspectives in environmental leadership and dive deeply into diversity and it's implications in society. We also studied living systems model, which was incorporated throughout the duration of the program. A course title Leadership Skills was particularly useful in my work with RMPJC - I was able to bring in resources that I was learning about in class (i.e. consensus model and operational mission) to support the health of the group.
What issues are you most passionate and concerned about?
I am passionate about justice issues ranging from environmental justice, racial justice, food justice, and economic justice. I believe that social justice issues are at the heart of the problems that we face.
What would help strengthen and improve our community?
I believe that society needs to recognize our unity and begin working together in order to strengthen our species and our relationship with the Earth. Our society has embedded the notion that "I" is separate than "you" in much of our lives, leading to practices of othering. We need to work towards a society that values inclusivity. In addition, I think that we need to begin communicating receptively to those that are in denial about climate change, racism, classism, etc. We are all products of our cultural upbringings and it is no surprise that each one of us holds varying values and beliefs. Instead of pointing fingers and turning against one another, we must reconnect with our innate human behaviors and join in community - our species and our world depends on it.