A Call to Intergenerational Activism

Maggie Conklin '27

Student Snapshot: Maggie Conklin ’27 

During her first semester at Dickinson, Maggie Conklin ’27 was tasked with a challenging assignment: Write an opinion piece about an environmental issue and try to get it published. Along with her classmates, she completed the assignment—and was surprised and delighted to discover that her hometown newspaper printed her op-ed. Below, she discusses the argument she made in her published piece, the experience of seeing her name in print, the best parts of her college experience so far and more.


Middlebury, Vermont.



Clubs and organizations:  

Ultimate Frisbee and the Arts Collective.


Provost Scholarship.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

Getting to meet so many new people. Whether it be a teammate or a professor, there is always someone with a story to tell to connect with!

“Absolutely pursue what you are interested in and passionate about, but never close yourself off from a new experience.” 

On choosing Dickinson:

As a liberal-arts college, Dickinson has allowed me to not feel pressured to choose one path until I know I’m ready. As a first-year, I have the privilege of choosing a variety of classes that fit my interests and explore new subjects that I never would have thought to explore. This past semester I took two classes that fit my already existing interests, Spanish and Environmental Connections, and two that put me out of my comfort zone: Sociology and my first-year seminar, The History and Ethics of Economic Thought.

Favorite class/learning experience so far:

A Pre-Orientation: Explore More trip focused on sustainability allowed me to learn about the college’s sustainable practices and the resources available to me, while also putting me out of my comfort zone with group activities and connecting me with upperclassmen and faculty who share similar interests. It also helped to create a base community that I can always rely on and easily connect with.  

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… a professional chef.

On getting published:

This past semester, as a part of my Environmental Connections class, we were required to write an op-ed about an environmental topic that we feel passionate about and submit it to a news outlet in hopes of publication. I decided to write about my frustrations with the title that has been given to my generation regarding the environmental crisis: the climate generation.

I have had many conversations with older relatives and have seen all over social media that the generations that came before mine have stepped back from working against climate change, saying it is no longer their problem. I have found this stance to be discouraging and confusing, as we have all seen the effects of climate change become more obvious in recent years, especially as action often has become a dividing issue among family dinner conversations and in political media. However, there are more and more opportunities for generations to work together in approaching the issue, and previous generations have more resources and experiences that could bolster the effort.

In terms of publishing the piece, I submitted it to one of my local newspapers back home in Vermont, The Addison County Independent. I had no expectation of it getting published after seeing figures, like Bernie Sanders, voicing their own concerns and opinions about the world we live in today. After receiving an email from the paper, I was surprised that they wanted to publish my piece, as I am only a freshman in college. This, however, was the point of the assignment Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Michael Beevers created.

Despite our youth and seeming inexperienced points of view, climate change is an issue that has been prevalent for our entire lives. We see not only the past and current effects of human activity, but also a future in which the world will be permanently changed by decisions made long before we existed.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

Absolutely pursue what you are interested in and passionate about, but never close yourself off from a new experience. You truly never know what could come from it, and if it doesn’t turn out to be as positive as you imagined, you always have something to learn from it.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published February 23, 2024