Jesse Saffeir ’20

Employed with non-profit “Land in Common”

What are you up to now?

After graduating from Bates in 2020 during COVID-19, I worked in restaurant service and ultimately interned for Land In Common in the summer. Land In Common is a mutual aid nonprofit community land trust working to increase accessibility and equity of land for Maine farmers.  I was later offered a full-time position with them and now run their fundraising, membership outreach, emails, social media, and communication between farmers and landowners.  

How has your decision to pursue an Environmental Studies major at Bates impacted your current career?

Everything about my ES major is the reason why I have my job. I was connected to Land In Common by Professor Ethan Miller, who was on the panel of my Honors Thesis presentation. Throughout my time at Bates, the ES department was amazing at connecting me with job shadows and internship opportunities, along with work happening within the community. The overall support in figuring out what I would do after graduation is the reason why I am working for Land In Common.

What was the most rewarding aspect of being an Environmental Studies student at Bates?

The professors! Their commitment and investment in the students, their own research, and their emphasis on community work are something I will always remember. The hands-on projects and very relevant work within classes prepared me for the actual work I would complete post-college. 

Any fond memories of the Environmental Studies department?

In the fall of 2019, the poet Ross Gay came to visit and read at Bates. One of my favorite things is poetry, so I was quite excited when I heard he would be visiting Bates. I, along with other ES students and faculty was invited to a dinner at Nezinscot Farm with Gay the night before his performance. Meeting him and hearing the way his words captivated the crowd is something I will always remember. 

Any advice for current students trying to decide on a major or in general?

Going out into the world is scary, but that is all part of the transition, and it’s okay to not have a job right when you graduate. I was scared and found myself working in restaurant service after graduation, but the ES department devoted time to creating pathways for me, and other Bates students, to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish. It’s all part of the process, and it’s okay to not have an exact plan post-graduation.