Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Alliance for Affordable Energy

Dear Reader,A great writer is the friend and the benefactor of his readers.
– Macauley

Another working day has ended, honest reader. As I told you before, I have succeeded in laying a patina, as it were over the turbulence and mania of our office. All non-essential activities in our office are slowly being curtailed.

At the moment, I am busy beautifying the eye-sore of a welcome center. At first sight, the scene of which met my eyes was both compelling and repelling. The cold, dank welcome center was decorated with the blight of volunteer recognition, stale weekly messaging, and the obscure invitation of a hapless  (and senile) japanese office plant. Inviting to only the depressed and disqualified. There are three b’s which describe most aptly my actions as an office employee: banish, benefit, and beautify; thus the approach taken with my new volunteer welcome center.

If only the Smithsonian Institution, that grab-bag of our nation’s refuse, could somehow vacuum-seal the Alliance for Affordable Energy’s office aesthetic and transport it to the capital of the United States of America; the model of nonprofit functionality. The Art Egg building for which it is housed is a large, barn-like structure that carries the ghosts of an old dairy warehouse. I’ll have you know, dear reader, the conversion of a dairy warehouse into art studios, although artistically surreal, does not bode well for the tenets in winter. I find myself wrapped in three layers of clothing, conserving my own kinetic energy in this leaky ice chest of a building; this reduces worker productivity as well.

I do admire the tenacity of my office co-workers on occasion. However, our independent drive for conquest on our various topics of expertise leaves the outreach process ill-equipped at times. This would make for good water cooler conversation during morning breaks, except I find myself the only one drinking from the water cooler most days.

Volunteer help is productive on occasion, except I fear they may be catching on to my schemes of coy manipulation. I only do this to hide the programatic inadequacies for which I refuse to admit. Nevertheless, my newest contribution to the volunteer program is define the programatic philosophy instead fabricating real work. This new invention matches volunteer skills and interest with institutional needs; this saves me humiliation, but contributes positively to restoring programatic face.

Health note: No major issues; survived the Mardi Gras/Saints festivities.

Social note: No major issues; recovering from the Mardi Gras/Saints festivities.

Until next time,

Matthew Sweeney, working boy at arms (Ode to Ignatius)

To learn more about the Alliance for Affordable Energy, visit their website at: http://www.all4energy.org/

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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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