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The guiDE program provides DukeEngage alumni a pathway to continue their commitment to service and civic engagement by providing leadership, mentorship and service opportunities that support wider DukeEngage efforts on campus and beyond.

Margaret Overton smiling


DukeEngage Partner Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Major: Environmental Science and Policy

Contact Margaret:

Margaret is a current sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee studying Environmental Science and Policy. She participated in DukeEngage in Portland, Oregon, where she worked for the Nature Conservancy on projects related to federal environmental policy, which is work that she would love to pursue further in the future. She is also a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the Duke Student Alumni Board, and HackDuke, a student group promoting tech for social good. Her passions are sustainable development, community organizing, hiking, and Duke basketball.

Resource Guide for DukeEngage USA - Portland

Following her summer working with The Nature Conservancy in Portland, Margaret developed the following list of resources for students who are interested in that program — or similar programs.

There are events with Sustainable Duke that happen throughout the year, and if a student is interested in finding out more about environmental issues or conservation, that would be a great place to start and get involved. There are also lots of opportunities to visit the Duke Forest and the Duke Campus Farm, where they can learn more about local ecosystems and habitats and how communities play a role in environmental causes. To learn more about Oregon and Portland specifically, they could reach out to alumni in the area who would be delighted to tell them more. – the Sustainable Duke website – the Nicholas School of the Environment website – the Portland Alumni group – calendar of all on-campus events at Duke, can be sorted by topic, type of event, and group involved in the event


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is a great introduction into how individuals can change their lifestyles to be more sustainable.

The Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd also has an interesting fictional take on the urgency of action on climate change.

Then for students interested in reading more about the Pacific Northwest, Portland’s own Powell’s Used Books has a great list of 40 nonfiction books set in the region


I would recommend anything from the Yale Environment 360 website. They cover a broad range of topics, and students can delve more deeply into the areas of conservation and sustainability that are most interesting to them.

News Sources

The absolute best thing you can do is read news stories from local newspapers. In particular, my favorites are The Oregonian, The Portland Tribune, The Herald and News, The Bend Bulletin, and The Register-Guard.


I thought that Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on climate change, Before the Flood, was a really moving and informative film that did a lot to motivate me to work on environmental issues.

Secondly, the documentary Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective is a fantastic and optimistic depiction of the many ways that people are making progress on sustainable initiatives in both urban and rural areas.

Online Videos

The video that I found most applicable to my experience in Portland was a 15 minute YouTube video called “On the Ground: An Original Documentary Short” and it details the homelessness epidemic that Portland has been experiencing over the last decade. Since we spent most of our time in the city, particularly near the city center, this was something that we witnessed every day, and this video provides a good overview of the situation and definitely changed the way I viewed the homeless population.

TED Talks

“The Walkable City” by Jeff Speck and “The Route to a Sustainable Future” by Alex Steffen discuss topics that are directly related to Portland.

  • The Duke Environmental Alliance
  • The Duke Carbon Coalition
  • Sustainable Duke/Green Devils

The National Association of Environmental Professionals is one of the biggest, and a much longer list can be found on the Yale Environment website.

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • North Carolina Students for Environmental Action – list of student organizations
  • VolunteerMatch – portal for searching volunteer organizations in various categories