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Volunteer Spotlight: Helena Robinson

A Black woman with curly, shoulder-length braids wears a high neck pink shirt and smiles at the camera

Volunteer Spotlight: Helena Robinson

By Flannery Winchester

If you ask Helena Robinson what she’s up to these days, odds are she’s doing something to reduce carbon pollution. By day, she serves as the Director of Sustainability and Quality Control at Xavier University of Louisiana, working to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and get folks on campus and in the community more engaged in climate work. 

Helena (right) and Joy Sullivan, CCL Third Coast Regional Ambassador and group leader of CCL Dallas Fort-Worth chapter

That work overlaps beautifully with her role as a CCL volunteer in the New Orleans chapter. Helena was instrumental in planning the Third Coast regional conference last fall, helping secure a sponsor, connect with several wonderful speakers, and bring in lots of student attendees and volunteers. She helped execute the event, too, serving as the day-of coordinator for conference speakers, handling the setup of conference meals, and ensuring that leftovers went to the on-campus food pantry for students. 

It was a wonderful opportunity to show the local community that Xavierites care about the climate, and it was nice being able to get many of our students involved,” Helena says.

When she’s not working or volunteering, you might find Helena at a festival or other local New Orleans event with her husband and 8-year-old son. She’s also a crafter, and she tries to incorporate repurposed or reused materials into her crafts.

We caught up with Helena to learn a bit more about her time with CCL and her commitment to climate action.

How did you first get connected with CCL?

I connected with CCL in 2019 when I became a sustainability director. Being new to the field of sustainability, I wanted to learn everything I could. While searching the internet, I stumbled upon CCL and their trainings and immediately joined. 

In early summer 2023, I was able to attend my first lobby meeting during the summer conference and lobby day. I was able to participate in at least five meetings in various roles in Washington, D.C., and it was very informative and exciting. I even got to support my assistant, Aliyah Bell, as she led the meeting with our congressman!  

Editor’s note: Meet Aliyah in her own Volunteer Spotlight post.

What did you like about CCL?

I really loved the trainings they offered and the fact that it was a bipartisan organization where anybody was accepted and anyone with any kind of experience could join.  

I also love how they give a variety of people — young, old, black, white, Republican, Democrat and more — a chance to lead and work with others of that variety. It’s really a good way to help individuals with differing views to hear their opponent’s point of view and find ways to work together. This is very rare in an organization. 

What keeps you motivated to do this work?

I am a perpetual learner and love learning new skills. So all of this is new to me but so necessary for our future and more importantly for our kids’ future and especially those of underserved communities.