Reflections on being a student member of the Charlotte Energy Committee

Megan Mahoney

Note: The Charlotte Energy Committee created a student seat in 2013 in hopes of nurturing in Charlotte students an interest in the issues the committee works on, as well as to ensure that the adults on the committee are readily reminded of student concerns. All four students who have served so far have been Charlotters who attended Champlain Valley Union High School, although that is not a requirement; any Charlotte student is eligible. We are grateful for the ongoing student interest, cheer the students on in their environmental work outside of the committee and look forward to many more years of collaboration. If you are a town committee considering adding a student seat, please get in touch so we can share our experience.        Rebecca Foster, co-chair

As I finish my two-year term on the Charlotte Energy Committee (CEC) as the student representative, I reflect on the evenings I spent with the group. My time on the CEC served as an amazing learning opportunity. I learned things about our world and the amazing life it holds, about my town and about different people. It was a unique experience that I would not have been able to achieve in a school setting.

I moved to our precious town of Charlotte when I was 10 months old and have lived here, in the same house, for the past 17 years. The small-town sense of security and community is the only thing I know, but I still try to not take it for granted. Although I have gone up through the public school system, played sports at CCS and gone to many after school programs and camps run by Charlotters, I had never been involved in my town in this way. Being a “kid” I had never paid much attention to the politics in our town other than recognizing certain names on signs or overheard in conversations.

By being the student representative on the CEC, I became more involved. Before our meetings, I had barely ever even been in our town hall before, and now I feel comfortable walking in and finding my place at the back table. I learned about the politics of our town and heard many stories of past political events.  Learning about bills and policies in the state and town governments was a wonderful addition to learning about school government, which I was participating in as well.

Never having been involved in a town committee before, I had not knowingly met others who were on committees. Many of my fellow CEC members were people who, it turns out, I previously had a connection with, whether it be through their children or a common activity. Hearing why each person had decided to dedicate their valuable time to the committee was fascinating and inspiring. All the other members were extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to being productive and making a positive impact. And it was fascinating to hear about what others do in the rest of their lives.

I am glad I got to spend my time with a strong group that shares a common sense of love and concern for the world, state and town we live in. I consider myself extremely lucky to live in such a small, loving and welcoming town, where I could have the chance to be involved as a high schooler. Having had this opportunity gives me more confidence to become involved in local governments in the future, as well as to remember the things I learned through this.

I was lucky to have the unique experience of learning how decisions are made in our local government and how many components are involved in those decisions. I am excited for my successor, Ethan Lisle, to have this great experience next!