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Volunteer Spotlight: Malissa Owen

Volunteer Spotlight: Malissa Owen

By Emma Marvil

19-year-old Malissa Owen is a sophomore neuroscience major and public health minor at the University of Texas at Dallas. She plays violin in an on-campus ensemble and assists with research in a neuroscience and molecular biology lab. In addition to being a scientific and musical whiz, she helped start a CCL chapter on the UTD campus.

Malissa first got involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby when she met CCL volunteer Michel Tabet and joined the local Denton chapter. When she and Michel ended up going to the same university, they decided to start their own chapter at UTD. Last fall, Malissa wrote an article for UTD’s student magazine titled “Be the Change in Climate Change.”

Here’s the thing,” Malissa wrote in her piece. “We can’t let ourselves feel numb or resigned anymore, or acknowledge the problem while remaining idle. It’s our generation that has to deal with this issue in the future—more than any of the baby boomers in Congress—and we need to make it clear that we want something done about it.” Her article highlights Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s work and the new chapter at UTD. She also identifies many areas where UTD could improve environmentally and invites other students to join her efforts with CCL.

What do you like about CCL?

What really attracted me to CCL is the fact that we are not just a group that talks about how climate change is a problem or just spreads awareness. This is an organization that has a plan—a policy—that is well researched, economically viable, and caters to both political parties so that we can all come together to fight against an issue that, ultimately, affects every living thing on this planet.

Please tell us about your main efforts or projects within CCL.

I’m trying to help Michel and the other officers out when it comes to organizing our events. We’ve set up tables on campus to spread the word about Carbon Fee and Dividend and receive letters and signatures. We’ve had guest speakers, workshops, lobbied locally, and encourage people to write op-eds, which has been pretty successful with my piece in our on-campus magazine and with a couple of our other members who have already gotten pieces published as well!

What keeps you motivated to do this work?

I am continually motivated to fight for legislation to combat climate change because I refuse to believe that it is too late to do something to help get ourselves out of the hole of quickly rising temperatures and fossil fuel use. Attacking emissions from the source definitely seems like it would make a direct, fast, and positive impact.

Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at flannery @

Emma Marvil is an intern for Citizens’ Climate Lobby and a volunteer with the Atlanta chapter. She recently graduated high school and is taking a gap year before she heads to college in the fall to study environmental science and business.