Georgia Greenberg ’20 helped organize the recent LUaroo music fest. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

Georgia Greenberg ’20 will continue her journey through Lawrence this fall when she begins a full academic year of student teaching in an Appleton elementary school, part of a partnership between Lawrence’s Teacher Education program and the Appleton Area School District. After majoring in government with a minor in education, she is now in pursuit of her teacher certification.

But until she steps into the classroom, Greenberg has been busy the past year pursuing another passion—serving as the communications lead for Sunrise Appleton, a local chapter of the youth-led Sunrise Movement organization that works to combat the climate crisis by spreading awareness and driving legislative change in communities across the country.

She also took time to help organize the recent LUaroo music festival on the Lawrence campus.

Most of the work with Sunrise Movement is done through Sunrise “hubs,” where community members meet, hold events, and forge partnerships.

Greenberg, who is from Chicago, took a one-year pause from her schooling before she jumps into student teaching. She joined the Sunrise Appleton group in May 2020, several months after some Lawrence students created the community-wide hub.

“I think there are a lot of students like me who have had these interests but haven’t been able to put them into action,” Greenberg said. “It’s very exciting that we can be the first step into that world for young people who haven’t had the opportunity to get involved with something like this before, including myself.”

But Greenberg highlights the importance of expanding the reach of Sunrise Appleton. Organizers have made early efforts to rebrand the hub into a more regional Sunrise of the Fox Valley. They held a recent public pizza party downtown, hoping to recruit members and educate the community about climate change.

The expansion of the hub is a focus for Greenberg, as her responsibilities center on outreach and social media engagement. But it was a hunger for personal connections that got her on board with the Sunrise Movement in the first place.

“The first step for me was that I missed people and want to be around people,” Greenberg said. “I do it because I want to make the world better, but I also do it because I will go crazy if I don’t have work that I’m doing that makes me feel in control over things that are freaking me out.”

An interest in activism

Greenberg’s interest in activism was sparked when she saw her teachers in Chicago go on strike in 2012.

“That kind of organizing has always been interesting and inspiring to me,” she said. “There was a time when I thought, ‘That’s for other people; I don’t know enough. I can’t do that.’”

That mind-set has certainly changed for Greenberg, who has found a comfort level as communications lead with Sunrise Appleton.

She thinks the leadership skills she’s developing will help as she looks to become a leader in the classroom. After obtaining her teacher certification, she hopes to teach in her home city of Chicago.

“Figuring out I wanted to teach made school make sense,” she said. “I’m so excited. It’s crazy that this whole thing is going to end up being a six-year journey. And this is the final step.”

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.