words that make a difference: working as a writer for the Anti-Fracking Alliance

Alex Bissell, English 485 writing consultant for Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation

For the outsider, writing can provide a wonderful opportunity to get involved. That's exactly what English 485, Words in the World, did for me. My background in Cinema and Screen Studies, and my experiences with professors like Dr. Bennet Schaber and Dr. Amy Shore, taught me to think critically and adapt my thinking into many different kinds of writing. I'd always wanted to work in activism, but never had the motivation to take the first step. 

Alex Bissell, writer for Anti-Fracking Alliance

That changed last spring, when I became a writing consultant for the non-profit organization Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON).  I created a white paper, "Wastewater Wasteland: An Investigation of Flowback Fluid Disposal," about hydraulic fracturing wastewater. The paper was distributed by activist groups like the Cayuga Anti-Fracking Alliance in Auburn.

I consider my work successful because it did more than earn me a grade in a class.  It made an impact in the proverbial "real world."  Last summer, the Cayuga Anti-Fracking Alliance organized a series of petitions and demonstrations to protest the local wastewater treatment plant's accepting hydro-fracking waste. One of the documents they distributed to city council members was my white paper, containing research about the plant in Auburn.  In July, the city passed a moratorium against wastewater with a vote of three to one.