Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Alliance for Affordable Energy

Dear Reader,

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose for a life beyond. -Milton

The powers that be have once again devised a means of belittling my rather invincible being. At first I thought that I might have found a surrogate successor for the sustainability of my programatic triumphs thus far. But resentment and jealously have issued an order to change the way the  Americorps/Tulane/Alliance for Affordable Energy partnership can do business this year.

I was communicated a change in the rules two weeks ago in which the Alliance for Affordable Energy will be responsible for matching funds $891/month if there is to be a sustainable successor. Clearly an organization as petite as the Alliance does not have the capacity to afford this – despite the exceptionally low rate compared to full time employee. I fear this will bankrupt my program, nullify all of my year’s hard work and accomplishments, trump sustainability, and influence the grandeur of my legacy. So much for due diligence and sustainable capacity building.

I admire such swift action from my Americorps state office. A month and a half before my graduation seems to be a reasonable amount of time to inform me of no new replacement and to halt any recruitment strategy I had in mind. By now, of course, I have altered my strategy to focus on complete dissemination and a plan for program survival by May.

Before the turmoil, staff and board members alike have expressed interest in hiring me on after the contract expires. I must admit, I would not have turned down an offering of some sort. A working boy can use every penny he can get his ambitious and striving hands on. In addition, I already have influence, perceived respect and responsibility within a body of work I enjoy. For a moment, I considered accepting the offer. But recent financial hurdles have squashed any possibility for employment. In fact, it now looks as though we may slim down the size of our staff so delegating volunteer responsibilities will be sedimented on top of delegating other programatic responsibilities on the poor souls left to scrounge.

But back to the matter at hand: time’s vengeance. I have one month to write and gather volunteer and outreach policy, budget, contacts, values, rules of operation, documents, statistics, post-VISTA sustainability plans, volunteer names and hours, joke of week submissions, summer internships, spring break coordination, service learning monitoring and wrap-up, scratch-off lottery jackpots, departure documents, outreach bookings, and plans for staff takeover of each program.

Ready go.

Health note: I have yet to capitalize on the health insurance. To do soon.

Social note: My personal life has endured a grand metamorphosis: I am now involved in copious vital extra-curricular activities (Radio apprenticeship, Crescent City Brewer’s Club, Ultimate Frisbee, Art Gallery submissions), and therefore I doubt quite seriously whether I shall have much time in the future to correspond with you.

Matthew Sweeney, Working Boy (Ode to Ignatius)

To learn more about Matt’s work at the Alliance for Affordable Energy, visit their website at: www.all4energy.org


About Tulane VISTA

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


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