Eckerd is building its relationship with Planet Forward, an organization that rewards college-aged students for their environmental journalism.

Based in Washington, DC, in partnership with George Washington University, Planet Forward runs a website full of articles about environmental issues written by people all across the nation, including environmentally conscious students from over 20 colleges.

Emmy-award winning environmental journalist Frank Sesno founded Planet Forward in 2009. Sesno’s daughter graduated from Eckerd in 2013, and he was the commencement speaker for the class of 2017.

“He [Sesno] founded Planet Forward with the notion that it would be important to empower student journalists who were interested in environmental issues and environmental reporting,” Director of Academic Special Projects Amanda Hagood said.

Since Sesno’s speech in 2017, Hagood has been working to create a strong relationship between Planet Forward and Eckerd. She believes there are many opportunities for Eckerd students that this organization can provide, including networking, career opportunities, excursions and more. “

You don’t have to be a journalism student to contribute,” Hagood said.

Students can build their resumes by getting published, and Planet Forward accepts more than just environmental articles. Stories can also be in the form of a podcast, infographic, video essay or short video.

Senior and Official Correspondent for Planet Forward Cassandra Hobar described her experience with the organization as extremely rewarding.

“It’s a really cool opportunity. They just published an article I wrote a week ago,” Hobar said. “Seeing that published, it freaks me out a little, like, ‘I wrote that!’ I am super excited to be working on another one.”

Planet Forward holds an Annual Summit, “Storyfest,” during April every year in Washington D.C. During that time, environmental speakers come to talk and network with students.

“It’s a great blend of interactive, informative and networking. So it’s really cool,” Hagood said.

The organization also holds a competition for best stories of the year, and this year the prize winners are going to the Galapagos.

Students can submit stories until Mar. 3 to be considered for the competition.

A climate-change themed coffee hour and panel with Sesno and others will be held in the Office of Service Learning on Friday Feb. 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

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