Where They’re Headed: Colin Battis ’21

The environmental studies major begins his Quaker Voluntary Service fellowship this fall where he will work with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather.

As a two-time Quaker House resident, Colin Battis is looking forward to continuing intentional communal living as a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow. Quaker Voluntary Service, or QVS, fellows are placed at community-based nonprofits and live at one of five QVS houses across the U.S. in an intentional community informed by Quaker values.   

“I was inspired to apply to the Quaker Voluntary Service because I knew that in my first few years after graduation, it was more important to me to spend some time engaged in service than immediately going to grad school or trying to jumpstart a career,” he said, “Out of the different service opportunities I was considering, QVS stood out because I lived in Haverford’s own Quaker House for three semesters.”

Battis, an environmental studies major and Bryn Mawr creative writing minor, will live at the Boston house and work at Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, or CREW. CREW is an organization that works with community groups across the country to help them prepare and protect their neighborhoods from extreme weather events. 

“I’ve naturally been drawn towards issues of sustainability and conservation because I place a deep value on nature,” said Battis. “I’m also glad I’ll be able to work so much with different neighborhood groups, as I’m definitely interested in working in the nonprofit sphere in the future.” 

Battis experienced working with community partners in the environmental field during “Collaborative Research in the Urban Environment” with Associate Professor Joshua Moses and in his environmental studies capstone course with Assistant Professor Sara Grossman. 

“Both these courses pushed me out of my usual mode of engaging with academics into taking the initiative and finding ways to collaborate with other students and with non-academic community partners,” he said. 

He also engaged with environmental work as a member of Haverford’s Committee for Environmental Responsibility, where he learned how sustainability is advanced at the institutional level at the College.

Battis’ work with CREW accounts for only one aspect of his QVS service year. He will also participate in professional development programming, receive mentorship and support through matches with local Quakers and local Quaker meetings, and participate in house activities.

“I look forward to building some valuable new connections,” said Battis. “No matter what I’m actually doing in the future, I know that I want to be part of a community, not just passively participating but adding to it. Community takes work to build, and you’ve never learned everything that you need to learn, so I see this as another step I’m taking on the way.” 

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.