Sustainability Interns Teeing Up for Spring Semester

Posted on March 3rd, 2020 by

What do the Sustainability Interns Have Teed Up for this Spring??
March 2, 2020

Sustainability intern planning session--at the whiteboard.

Sustainability intern planning session in February.

After a lot of great prep-work during January, the sustainability interns are reunited once again on campus and we couldn’t be more excited!

During the first week of school, Sophomore Kendra Held organized a productive strategizing meeting where each intern reflected personally on projects they thought the team should prioritize for the spring semester and then posted their ideas on the whiteboard in themes. We then had a critical conversation about what projects were durable, most impactful, and supportive of others’ efforts. After this process the interns prioritized Res Life collaboration, energy conservation, and consistent branding and signage for the spring semester.

Intern collaboration with Residential Life is well underway with Sophomores Aviva Meyerhoff, Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyrel, Kendra HeldLily Engebretson, and Collin Carlson having had several meetings in January and February with Res Life staff members. Res Life staff and students have been an outstanding team to work with due to their energy and willingness to champion this effort and educationals have already taken place. Last semester, Southwest and International Center CFs asked Senior Rachel Belvedere to host a session on how interested students can engage in personal composting. For more information please see “Fall 2019 presentation on the state of compost collection…” and email g-sustainability with any questions. This semester, the intern team is working directly with Res Life staff to create a more structured means of educating students on waste reduction and disposal which could be accomplished through hall council or a formal sustainability representative from each Res hall.

Res Life has also been instrumental in plans for energy conservation work. Together, we have brainstormed a plan on how to better communicate the realities of campus energy use and inspire collective conservation efforts. One way this could be accomplished is through a Res hall energy conservation competition where each hall would work to reduce their energy use and the hall with the greatest percentage reduction would win a prize! What better way to reach sustainability goals than a bit of friendly competition? An important aspect of assessing conservation goals is data. Collin has been conceptualizing how to best transform current college energy data into digestible graphs for the Gustavus community to view.

The final effort we have prioritized is the creation of consistent intern branding and signage. In order to make sure community members have the information they need to make sound waste management decisions, interns Collin, Audrey, and Rachel are creating “nudge signage” in relevant physical spaces – such as the caf, courtyard, STEAMery, and other waste disposal areas. Also, keep an eye out for a recycling collection area in the back of Lund for athletic team use when loading and unloading the bus after games and meets. We are grateful for basketball coach Mark Hanson’s work in spearheading this effort!

Also assisting in this consistency of communication are our Building Champions. If you haven’t heard of Building Champions, it is an initiative the interns launched in the fall to identify individuals in each building that act as a contact for interns, custodial staff, and building occupants regarding waste management questions and ideas. If you or someone you know might be interested in being a building champion, email This work is essential in supporting Travis Jordan and Physical Plant’s plans to roll-out expanded compost collection later this spring. Kendra has been working with Building Services Supervisor Jim Vaughan in designing a system of manual compost transportation for Beck Hall in the meantime and several champions in Old Main and Olin are doing the same. We will share a list of Building Champion names and contact information in the near future so that you know who to contact for building-specific waste management questions!

Contact any of us at if you have ideas or questions.

Post and photo by Rachel Belvedere



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