It’s great when the thing you are researching is something that you are personally invested in. Though I certainly feel this way about certain bits of school work, it’s different when there is something more at stake than getting a paper back. That’s how I’ve been feeling so far this summer. In short, my goal this summer is to have some measurable, quantifiable impact on our energy output here at Clark. I don’t care how small or minute the number might end up being. It’s the fact that there’s something I can change through diligent and hard work that excites me.
Projects like this function largely like a snowball rolling down a hill for lack of a better metaphor (please excuse it, it’s kind of late). One summer someone does X, then the next someone does Y, and now it’s my turn to manipulate all the variables and come up with an answer to the equation. Then, this answer turns into a new X and the calculation has to be done again. You get it. Or at least I hope you do. A large help in my ability to add up X and Y has been having conversations with members of the Clark community. These people are all invested in a similar way. They are, like myself, members of the Clark community and would like to continue to see advancements in our effort towards sustainability.
It has also been great to read about projects going on on other college campuses. One that truly stands out in my mind while writing this is Delta College’s Green Book. This past year, members of Delta College collaborated to put out a publication all about sustainability. Yet, the book that they published was very different from other things like it. They went well past hard, technical facts and reports. While things like this were included, they were printed alongside paintings, photography, and pieces of creative writing. The goal was to involve all sorts of talents in effort to expand and promote the idea of sustainability across the campus. Though this is surely a large undertaking, as a Global Environmental Studies and English double major (let’s hope those credits work out and there’s enough time…) the idea seems terrific.
Another project that stood out took place at the University of South Carolina. Here, the school held a Green Networking Breakfast with the hopes that faculty, staff, and students would all attend and share ideas. Of the 100 plus attendees, 56 were students. Many of these students went on to build relationships with those around them, and many landed internships or started collaborating on projects with the faculty and staff they met at the breakfast. So much of promoting sustainable practices is interacting with people and building relationships, and this breakfast seemed to do just the trick in South Carolina. It sounds somewhat similar to the Clark Sustainability Collaborative we have going on over here, but still worth a mention , too. Good job, University of South Carolina. Brown bag lunch, anyone?
Plus, did I mention that I have an office with a couple nice windows? What’s so bad about that.