Wait…we have sustainability interns?

Posted on December 10th, 2019 by

By Kendra Held, Sustainability Intern

The weekly Sustainability Intern meeting!

This fall, Jim Dontje, Director of the Johnson Center for Environmental Sustainability, has been working with seven driven interns on an array of projects promoting sustainability at Gustavus.

On the physical science side of sustainability, Senior Brooke Bernhardt and Sophomore Collin Carlson have teamed up with faculty in the Environmental Studies and Biology departments to do analytical testing on the compost we produce at Gustavus. Their goal is to asses the composting process from both a logistics and analytical perspective.

In late October, Sophomore Lily Engebretson collaborated with Thrifty Gold and the Environmental Action Coalition to run a pop up thrift shop for students. Cardboard collection bins were placed in res halls to collect clothes in the weeks leading up to the event. Students were encouraged to bring clothes to exchange item for item on the day of the thrift shop. Music was played in Alumni Hall which gave the event a relaxed vibe. An estimated 50 students participated in the event.

Sophomores Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyrel and Aviva Meyerhoff have been versatile members of our team, working on many projects this fall. They have investigated equitable, socially conscious investments at an institutional level. Looking into creative ways to invest in our future while being mindful of the impact our investments have on our world. Initiating conversations across campus, they are thinking about how to put our money where our mouth is, both individually and as a college.

Aviva and I have had the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Communications Team this fall. Members Laura Triplett, Betsy Byers, Darsa Donalen and Anna Deike have patiently answered our questions and encouraged us to think about how to communicate most effectively. Our main project this fall has been updating the Sustainability Website. Looking forward, we are excited to communicate more clearly with the Gustavus Campus about where we are and where we are going in terms of sustainability. We plan to educate the campus on waste sorting, energy conservation, composting and ways to get involved.

Several of us have met with Physical Plant Staff to better understand how waste is managed here at Gustavus. Amy Brown, Office Manager for Physical Plant, sat down with me to assess our current statistics on waste. This is one of the first steps that needs to be taken before we can understand what needs to change in order for us to become a Zero-Waste institution. Adam Ellefson, Landscape Specialist for Physical Plant, provided a behind-the-scenes tour of recycling and compost runs at Gustavus for me and then did it again for Collin. His willingness to collaborate, think creatively and answer my questions was very appreciated! Slowly but surely I am understanding what our roadblocks are with the waste stream on Campus and how we can get over these hurdles.

I’ve learned a lot about how to sort waste in these last few months–all of the interns have shared that learning experience!  Contact any of us at g-sustainability@gustavus.edu if you have ideas or questions.

 

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