Last year, when I was selected as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for the Consortium for Energy, Economics, and the Environment (CE3), I couldn’t have been more excited. Since deciding that I wanted to focus my studies and career to sustainability, it was the best thing that has happened to me since being on campus. It also fit along perfectly with my desire to get more involved in activities outside the classroom this year, which I find to be more practical and fulfilling. In addition to working at the Voinovich School, I am volunteering at the Office of Sustainability on campus and finishing up an internship with the Sierra Club that I did over the summer. Getting involved with multiple organizations has greatly increased my understanding of environmental issues and has allowed me to see how they each approach various problems from different angles. Because of this, I have continued to develop a more complete worldview about which methods are most effective, what groups are doing the most to make change, and how we can best solve our environmental problems.
So far with CE3 my assignments have focused on communications, one of my strengths as a journalism major. Through the projects I have undertaken, I have learned so much about which businesses and organizations are stepping up to the plate and coming up with the innovative solutions that we so desperately need right now. The Voinovich School is one of these players, and I am proud to say I have been able to contribute to the work at CE3 that helps make our region and state a better place. The knowledge I’ve gathered will also be very helpful for me as I seek opportunities in a career related to sustainability.
Most recently, I attended a conference put on by the Voinovich School that focused on energy efficiency projects and new EPA greenhouse gas reporting regulations. There were excellent speakers and many industry experts in attendance. One in particular stressed the need of “speaking the language” of the business world. For example, instead of asking a CEO to cut his energy use because it would be good for the planet, show him how it could save money and improve the value of his company. Whether or not business leaders believe in climate change, despite it being well established by science, reporting and monitoring their emissions and energy use can identify opportunities to save money and improve business practices. I think “speaking the language” like this is very important in getting the results desired in the business world.
I learned so much attending this conference, especially from those that are getting it done in various industries. It was an awesome experience that wouldn’t have been possible for me if I wasn’t involved with CE3. I even got to network a little bit and learn about some opportunities after talking to an environmental consultant. Needless to say, I was thrilled to do this, because becoming a sustainability consultant is my dream job.
I’m very excited to continue my work with those at the Voinovich School who
understand that the relationship between energy, economics, and the environment is currently contributing to a lot of our problems, but can also provide the solutions. Working on these meaningful projects with such talented people gives me hope that we will be able to rise up and tackle the great challenges concerning resource scarcity and environmental degradation that we face today.