Throughout my childhood and into my early adulthood, I have found that, for me, the surest and quickest path to living a life full of meaning is by serving others. I think that MNIPL embodies that idea, and I am excited to be their communications intern for the 2017 fall semester. I will be interviewing individuals who are doing inspiring and meaningful work within the environmental and social justice realms and writing blog pieces afterward to share their knowledge with our readership. I will also be attending events like the march against Line 3, Hold the Line, and taking photographs for MNIPL’s website.
My name is Naveena Sekaran, and I am a junior at the University of Minnesota where I study sustainable food systems and communications. My journey to finding this academic path began when I was around eleven years old, volunteering at a food shelter with my mom and younger brother. It was then that I realized the importance of access to healthy food is for individuals and for communities as a whole and knew that I would someday work towards humanitarian efforts in my adulthood.
There was a large stretch of time wherein I felt a deep sense of helplessness and depression at the injustices that millions of Americans face based on factors outside of their control. I knew that I needed to find a way to aid in the upheaval of these systems of oppression, but I did not know how to begin. Social justice work can take so many forms, and I hadn’t yet found the one that resonated with me most strongly. Then, I took a horticulture class my Sophomore year and I rediscovered my passion for produce, realizing for the first time the connection between people, food, social justice, and environmentalism.
Before I set up an interview with MNIPL, I researched the organization on their website, reading through their mission statement, the work they were involved with, and the principles with which they tackle each project. I felt inspired by the courage and transparency that shows through their work, and when I discovered that I had been invited to work as their communications intern, I felt honored and excited to be a part of this team. I am thrilled to be working with MNIPL this semester, and I hope you enjoy reading my pieces as much as I enjoy writing them.