During the three years I have been at Indiana University Bloomington, I have seen some great lectures by award winners, learned loads inside and outside of the classroom, and attended many an inspiring performance.
Participating in the IU Office of Sustainability’s Internship Program, however, has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me so far. Not only has it helped me build up my strength of character, but it has also taught me valuable lessons in how to reach out and collaborate across campus, how to think critically, how to communicate more effectively, and how to live a more rewarding lifestyle. Because of this internship, not only have I improved as a worker, but I’ve also improved overall as a person.
The greatest thing about my internship, which was in the area of Sustainability and the First Year Experience, was that I was given the opportunity over the summer to develop my own goals, as long as they promoted sustainability-awareness among students who live on campus.
The three goals I developed were to improve the sustainability resources for resident assistants on campus, to re-build a collaboration with the Office of the First Year Experience, and to create a culture of sustainability among students on campus via the Green Room Certification Program and other programming. My purpose is to make sure that everybody knows, as soon as they set foot on campus, that IU is a place that cares about ensuring the stable future of our planet and “thriving within its means” (definition of sustainability from Bill Brown, IU Office of Sustainability director).
Since May of 2014, I have updated the Office of Sustainability website to include new sustainability-related bulletin board displays, programming resources, and mentoring ideas for RAs, changed the Green Room Certification Program to require more from students to certify their dorm rooms as eco-friendly, and put on several educational events to engage students further in sustainability at IU. The Office of First Year Experience is also proving to be of great help in publicizing sustainability-themed events and tips on how to live green on campus.
During the fall of 2014, just short of 400 students certified their rooms as green, and about 100 RAs pledged to incorporate sustainability into their programming efforts. For the 2013-14 academic year, 525 rooms were certified, and about 120 RAs pledged. And we still have the Spring Energy Challenge (starting March 26th!) to recruit even more.
Every year, we are building up more support for sustainability on campus and gaining a growing force of students who are excited and want to be involved. All individuals here at IU Bloomington have the potential to help us build this positive energy, secure our future and build this culture of sustainability.