Citizen advocacy requires a certain level of humility in order to genuinely and positively touch the hearts and minds of others. One must recognize the complexity as well as the potential of pluralistic worldviews and approaches to advocacy efforts. My unique experience as a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Nuclear Free Vermont by 2012 (NFV) humbled me as I joined others in the effort to close the aging nuclear reactor that operates within ten miles of Brattleboro and replace it with safe, clean and affordable energy solutions for Vermont. The ensuing discussion highlights a focal project of my efforts with NFV and describes the context, process, and outcomes of this project. Additionally, I will use this space to reflect on my learning that transpired throughout the process. The intent of this capstone is to provide context for the citizen-led efforts to close and replace the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear reactor, share my observations and recommendations for future action, and illuminate the learning that transpired throughout the six months I participated in this campaign.

Following option two of the Policy Advocacy course-linked capstone guidelines for 2006-2007, the first section describes the campaign to close and replace VY. I will briefly describe the organizations and citizen groups currently active within the campaign. Additionally, I will explain the policy issues, political targets and other actors, and the corresponding strategies related to the campaign. In the second section, I will elaborate on my experience and illustrate major activities related to the evolving campaign strategies of NFV.

The following section of the capstone is the course-linked project: a detailed set of observations and recommendations regarding organizational and communication efforts of NFV and Safe Power Vermont, a new coalition that NFV co-founded. The document is being submitted to the steering group of NFV and other members of the coalition. I have included project within the body of the Capstone. The purpose of this project is to identify enhancements that could potentially improve the effectiveness of citizen-led activities to replace VY. The project stems from participatory observation with, targeted data collection regarding and reflection on NFV and Safe Power Vermont activities and draws from the diverse experiences and perspectives from campaign activists, citizens and Vermont elected officials.

In the final sections (V-VII), I elaborate on the observations and recommendations project outcomes, lessons learned and how I intend to apply the experience and skills gained. In section five I will elaborate on the few outcomes already realized from the course-linked capstone project. Next, I will share several lessons learned and reflect on the integration of theory and practice as it relates to my experience with the campaign. The final section will include an exploration of how I intend to apply this unique experience to future citizen advocacy and activism efforts.


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration