Hello! My name is Vandana Menser and I am a new intern at UUMFE. I have been a part of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock (UUCSR) for around 6 years, and in my time there have volunteered for a multitude of events, most memorably a service trip doing carpentry on Oglala Lakota land in Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. This is one of the experiences that has broadened my perspective as to just how disconnected the U.S. government and its citizens are, and showcased to me the extreme neglect of one another and the people indigenous to this land.

Despite growing up in New York City, one of the most important cultural and business centers in the United States, I always held my communities and the overarching governing body at the time to be two separate entities. Myself and the people around me were to watch as public policy was tweaked and bills were introduced; events concerning our daily lives that we could pay attention to but not impact. I was of course made aware of voting, but in a child’s mind this pertained only to the presidential election — while the rest of the administration was to make decisions for the populace.

Now, like many other young adults worried about the sake of our planet, it is becoming increasingly impossible to sit back as our supposed protectors abandon us in favor of corporate greed and the wants of lobbyists. Legislators have failed us, and it has become clear that we must organize our own youth to implement change. I believe the global assembly of Unitarian Universalists to be one of the most uplifting and strengthening groups to voice concerns for societal change: and for that voice to be heard and echoed. In this position, I’d like to focus on connecting with people who are passionate about environmental policy changes, and trying to move these ideas forward through meeting with local New York politicians and the UU office at the UN. I am looking forward to connecting science and spiritualism in this mission!