Sonderman named National Consumers League Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Development – National Consumers League

August 11, 2014

For immediate release: August 11, 2014
Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC — The National Consumers League (NCL) has named Amy Sonderman Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Development, effective September 1. In her new capacity, Sonderman will direct NCL’s fundraising strategy and external partnerships. NCL is the nation’s pioneering consumer and labor advocacy organization, founded in 1899 and headquartered in Washington, DC.

Sonderman succeeds former Vice President of Development Larry Bostian, who has been named Senior Advisor to Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

“We are thrilled to have Amy assume this leadership position for our organization,” said Greenberg. “Her dedication to NCL’s mission and proven track record of creating lasting relationships with external partners will benefit our numerous programs and initiatives.”

“Making the marketplace and workplace safer for consumers and workers is a large and long-term challenge, and no one organization can do it alone,” said Sonderman. “I am proud to lead NCL’s efforts to forge partnerships and gather support from labor organizations, responsible corporate partners, and fellow advocates to advance such an important mission.”

“I congratulate Amy, and I’m grateful for the chance to take on this new role,” said Bostian. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to NCL’s mission while increasing my volunteer involvement in addiction recovery.”

Sonderman was previously Director of Partnerships and Development at NCL. Before joining NCL in 2011, she worked in fundraising at the Muscular Dystrophy Association and at the Girl Scouts of America. She also previously served as the Associate Executive Director at the Greater Pittston YMCA, where she began her nonprofit career. Sonderman graduated with honors from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in Political Science and earned a Masters in Public Administration from Marywood University. She is a member of the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

As Senior Advisor, Bostian will continue to work in fundraising and assist Greenberg on special projects and assignments. 


About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Fish farms: Good, bad, or downright ugly? – National Consumers League

fishfarms.jpgDid you know fish accounts for 17 percent of the world’s protein intake? That may not seem like a lot, but by 2050, farmed fish production is expected to more than double to meet global demands. Fish are the most environmentally-friendly animal protein to produce, efficiently converting feed into meat while generating a fraction of the greenhouse gasses of livestock production. But as it stands now, our earth’s rivers, lakes, and oceans are fished to their limits.

Aquaculture (neat, huh?) will become vitally important in the near future to keep up with demand. Though industrial farming gets a lot of slack across the board, fish farming may be our answer to fulfilling the animal protein needs of the world’s growing population.

Why do fish farms get such a bad rap? For starters, antibiotics are an ever-growing concern in industrial farming. Eighty percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are used on livestock. It’s estimated that farmed salmon are fed more antibiotics per pound than any other livestock. Antibiotic resistant bacteria, created as a result of antibiotic overuse, are responsible for the deaths of 23,000 Americans each year.  Cramped underwater pens lead to filth and sickness, raising concerns about the spread of disease. Contention also surrounds what farmed fish are eating. In some cases, farmed fish eat other wild fish, negatively impacting the ocean ecosystems; in other cases they are fed pellets, which may not adequately meet their nutritional needs, and result in fattier, less nutritious, and less flavorful fish.

These problems are undoubtedly challenging, but attempts are being made to overcome them. Fish farmers are starting to open “on land” fish farms that eliminate any chances of diseases spreading in the ocean. Scientists are also finding new ways to filter water and keep farmed fish in a contained, clean environment so antibiotics are not required. These fish are reported to grow twice as fast as their ocean-raised counterparts. Advancements have been made in raising higher-maintenance ocean fish in land bound, sterile environments, making on-land fish farms a viable option for some rarer, more expensive species. Fish farmers are using less fishmeal, or ground wild fish, than they were 20 years ago, further taking pressure off the overfished ocean.

Consumers play a large role in the positive reinforcement of developing and using new sustainable fish farm technologies. The majority of fish we eat, 91 percent, comes from abroad. At home, we ship away third of what we catch. Buying American-grown and processed fish is not only more sustainable because it isn’t shipped as far, but it also supports developing cleaner ways to farm fish in our own country.  At the grocery store, consumers can keep an eye out for seafood that bares a Sustainable Seafood Certification.

Consumers who are concerned about farmed fish and wish to only purchase fish raised in the wild should try to eat fish and shellfish that fall lower down on the food chain. These fish are less likely to negatively impact the environment because they require less feed. Tilapia, catfish, and carp are all good options. Mollusks, like clams, oysters, and scallops, are the most environmentally-friendly source of animal protein, as they don’t use freshwater and they serve to clean the environment around them. Fish play a key role in fulfilling the protein needs of the world population. Now is the time to use purchasing power as a vote to promote positive aquaculture practices and reduce our impact on the ocean.

Dos and Don’ts for College-bound $tudents – National Consumers League

92_college_movein_.jpgMillions of young people are arriving on the nation’s college campuses this month—finally, life without parents for the first time for many! Unfortunately, many of these young people will be entering the consumer marketplace with little understanding of how to navigate it successfully—credit cards? utility bills? rent? And even worse—many students may fall prey to scams targeting college students.Whether they are heading off to college, a job, or to their first apartment, young adults should keep these dos and don’ts in mind this fall:

  • DO read the fine print. While credit card companies are now largely prevented from offering their wares on college campuses, there are still many “gotchas” lurking out there for unsuspecting consumers. Those gotchas love to hide in the fine print of things like apartment leases, gym memberships, cell phone contracts, student loan applications, spring break vacation package agreements and yes, credit card applications.
  • DON’T sign anything until you understand your responsibilities. Will you be locked in to that gym membership for years to come? Does that free t-shirt come with a credit card that has a high interest rate and annual fee? How much will it cost to break the lease on your apartment if your roommate unexpectedly moves out and leaves you with the full month’s rent?
  • DO make sure you have contact info (the phone numbers or Web addresses for services that can help) if you get in trouble. The local Better Business Bureau, Office of Tenant Advocate, and state and local consumer protection bureaus are good numbers to have handy if you feel that a local business or landlord is taking advantage of you.
  • DO create a budget and stick to it. Create a list of all the expenses you’ll be responsible for, like books, regular meals, rent, and transportation. That way you’ll have a system to help make sure nights out with friends don’t eat in to you required living expenses.
  • DON’T leave personal information unsecured. While young consumers may not have a lot of money to drain from bank or credit card accounts, their credit reports are often clean. This makes them tempting targets for identity thieves. File away important documents, shred credit card offers and keep a close eye on credit and debit card statements for suspicious charges.
  • DO watch out for scams targeting young people. For example, educational grant scams regularly make’s list of top scams each year, suggesting that scammers may be going after students looking for ways to pay for college in a tough economic environment. Watch out for scams that promise “guaranteed scholarships” or “an inside track on getting money for college.” Also stay away from any service that requires a credit or debit card account number to apply for or hold a scholarship.
  • DON’T leave your social network privacy settings unattended. Scammers scan these networks for information they can use to pitch believable-sounding scams. It usually only takes a few minutes to set privacy settings to make them more secure. Many college students may be surprised to find just how much of their personal information they were sharing in the first place.

Consider these tips the beginning of your journey to becoming a savvy consumer. Remember that the good consumer habits you develop as a college student can yield benefits in school and beyond.