Staff Spotlight: Chelsea Coffey

Where are you originally from and how does it differ from living in Lansing?

I’m from the small town of Vassar, MI, which is in the thumb right by Frankenmuth. There’s definitely lot more traffic lights and people and a whole lot less corn fields here in Lansing. Being at the epicenter of political action in Michigan is the best thing about living in Lansing for me; anyone who knows me knows how geeked I get about the state capitol. I also enjoy the diversity of people, food, and activities available to me here in Lansing.

What is one of your favorite places in the world and why?

India. I enrolled in a faculty led study abroad program to India on a whim and I ended up falling in love with the culture and the food. This was my first time leaving the United States and it was such an eye-opening experience (for both my palate and my mind). Being immersed in such a vibrant culture was less of a shock than I was anticipating, I miss the colorful markets and the thrill of trying to negotiate prices with vendors. The US just seems so dull in comparison, I actually had a harder time acclimating back to American life than I did in India.

What issues are most important to you?

The environment is probably my top issue, as I believe it should be for all citizens of Earth. If you care at all about the future, you must be concerned about what we are doing now to the environment and what we can do to ensure that it remains viable for future generations. For every action, there is a reaction, in all aspects of life, so I don’t understand how people overlook our actions that impact the Earth.

In addition, I am also passionate about women’s rights, empowering girls, and equality for all. I firmly believe all people deserve a fair chance to lead a good life and no one should be held back by societal pressures or norms. In February, I will be coaching a team of middle school girls through Girls on the Run, an amazing program that inspires girls to be bold and confident in every aspect of life by showing them they can do whatever they set their mind to.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy hiking and just about anything in the outdoors, which makes this time of year particularly frustrating for me. Cooking is also one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy trying new recipes, and I find chopping vegetables to be almost therapeutic. My favorite vegetables to chop are ones grown in my family’s garden (they’re free and tastier than the store-bought versions).

What do you hope for in the future of your professional career?

I’m interested in going to graduate school for either environmental policy or public policy in the near future. I hope to one day be in a position where I can use my voice to make a real difference in the issues that mean the most to me.

What spawned your interest in politics?

Initially, like many millennials, I was very disengaged and completely uninterested in politics. I think what sparked my interest was one of my honors classes at SVSU, philosophy of business ethics. The things I saw that were going on in business, particularly the food and drug industries, were appalling to me and I wondered how this could be allowed to happen, why we didn’t have laws to protect us from this sort of thing. I then learned about revolving door politics, where say for example, the former CEO of Monsanto becomes head of the Department of Agriculture. While politics is frustrating and often spirit crushing, it is a real way to make a difference. The more people get involved, the better our “democracy” will work for us. I’m not one to sit on the sidelines. I want in on the fight.

What are some of your new year resolutions?

This year I would like to develop a regular exercise routine, get my library card and start reading more, and get more involved in the Lansing community.

Describe yourself in 5 words

Passionate, adventurous, independent, sarcastic and goofy.

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