Rachel Dowd '12

Pick Up America
Major: Five College Film Studies

My experience this summer is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life and something that I would not have been able to do without funding. I first arrived on the road in Indiana only to be greeted by a blue and green school bus and 6 strangers that I would be living and working with for the next 2 months. It was very overwhelming at first but by the end of the summer I grew very accustomed to my nomadic lifestyle. During a typical week on the road I would pick up roadside litter for about 3-4 days a week as we walked westward. I would film/ edit for 2 days a week. We had 1 day a week off where we would explore the different communities that were hosting us. I had the opportunity to see many small towns that people normally pass through to get to major cities. I also met a myriad of genuine people with interesting stories and lives. We also held many community outreach events to inspire others to transition toward a zero waste lifestyle. By the end of my time with Pick Up America I walked away with a finished film, new friendships, and a desire to continue traveling and making films to create social change.