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Alumna furthering climate justice efforts through rallying, petitions

Sarah Jedlowski petitions on University campuses and rallies at legislative offices in support of climate change bills

green-gould-10-12-sustainablecities-jpeg for Sept, 23
An ASU alumna works to advance climate change bills. Illustration published on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

Usually found around the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses or at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, clipboard in hand, Sarah Jedlowski works to collect signatures in support of climate justice for the Green New Deal Network.

After she graduated from ASU with her bachelor's degree in political science in summer 2021, Jedlowski began working with the GNDN, a coalition of organizations dedicated to advocating for policy change at the state, local and national levels.

"We're trying to gather signatures and get the names of people who support taking big, bold moves against climate change, because those are the people that are going to help to move this legislation and move us towards a more climate friendly planet," Jedlowski said.

Currently, Jedlowski's group focuses on collecting signatures for a $3.5 trillion budget plan that would, among other initiatives, address climate change through strategies such as examining the transportation system and ensuring the efficient use of federal resources. The plan also aims to create jobs in clean energy and create a clean electric grid in the U.S.

"(The GNDN) is all about creating a sustainable environment for us all," said GNDN organizer Khalid Payne. "The United States is one of the biggest creators of pollution, so if we do something about it here, it's going to help everybody in the world. That's what the organization is all about."

Most of the work Jedlowski does for the organization is targeted toward students and making information on legislation that seems confusing more accessible. For Jedlowski, this is a highlight, as students are her favorite demographic to interact with, and she is passionate about getting young voters involved with local politics. 

"I love students. I think they're passionate, they're driven, and they care so much, especially about climate change, because this is their future that the people in our legislature are destroying," Jedlowski said.

She works to gather signatures and speak with student voters to get them involved and educated about the bill. Her approach prioritizes helping students understand what issues directly affect them. According to Angelica Zamora, a GNDN network manager, Jedlowski makes her outreach "her own."

"She gives so much to everything that she does. She does everything in generous amounts and it just bleeds into her work," Zamora said.

In addition to gathering signatures and educating young voters, Jedlowski has recently begun organizing rallies at legislative offices every Thursday. The team is currently focused on getting the attention of Rep. David Schweikert and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

"We want to let them know that climate is a bipartisan issue," Jedlowski said. "It's something that affects all of us, whether we're Republican, Democrat or anything else. We won't have a world to live on if we don't start taking action now."

Before working with GNDN, Jedlowski worked as a NextGen America fellow during her time at ASU. According to the group's website, it is an organization that strives to maximize young voter turnout by engaging with voters under the age of 35. 

Jedlowski worked to register student voters through soliciting on campus and collaborating with ASU professors to visit their classes to encourage voter registration before the 2020 presidential election. It was during this time that she realized how much she enjoyed political activism.

"From the second I met her, she was the most kind, open, vibrant, energetic person you've ever met," said Jordan Iglesias, a former NextGen state organizing director who worked with Jedlowski. "She's the kind of person who can talk to anyone and figure out what matters to them, and then show them how they can get engaged, how they can have a voice, how they can be empowered."

Born and raised in Phoenix, Jedlowski continues to fight for climate justice because she wants a better future for her loved ones.

"I'm personally driven by my family, especially in the climate crisis," she said. "I want my two nephews and my niece to grow up in a world that's as beautiful as the one that I got the chance to grow up in."

Jedlowski plans to go to graduate school at ASU to study social justice next year and believes she will be an activist for the rest of her life. 

"The earth is precious, and its environment is precious, and its wildlife is precious, and we need to protect that," she said. "We have to do something. We have to make our local legislators understand that this is important to us and they represent us."

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Sadie Buggle

Sadie Buggle is a full-time reporter for the Community and Culture desk at The State Press. She was previously the editor-in-chief and news editor of her high school newspaper. 

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

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