By: Mary Roper, Green Purchasing Intern
Mirriam-Webster defines “opportunity” as an amount of time or situation in which something can be done. Some would say that it is a chance for progress. My good friend Sarah says that it’s the chance to do something. No matter the definition, If there is one thing I have learned during my time as an intern, it is that the Indiana University Office of Sustainability is a gateway for endless opportunities.
What I appreciate most about this program is that it not only provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, but it also challenges us interns to find unique opportunities to better our community as well. Last night, the majority of us interns met with our adviser to review our past progress and identify the opportunities that awaited us in 2014. It was during last night’s seminar that it became quite clear to me that Indiana University, its students, its faculty, its staff, and Bloomington citizens can all expect great things from the IUOS interns during the last half of the academic year.
I take great pride in the fact that I am able to work closely with such intelligent people. My co-workers are constantly recognizing opportunities before them and finding ways grasp these opportunities and attain their goals. For instance, Amanda Redfern, the Greening of the Athletic Department Intern, believed there was an opportunity to reduce waste generated by tailgates.She was able to work with the Indiana University Athletics Department to set up a “Greening Cream & Crimson” program for football games last fall that didn’t just provide an outlet for recycling; it also educated the community on the topic.
However, it is important to note that a large part of our internships involves creating our own opportunities. As the Strategic Planning and Implementation for Sustainable Food, Angela Babb sees an opportunity for Indiana University to use its relationships with large vendors to impact the food system. She worked last fall to create the Indiana University Food Summit, an event that brought together students, faculty, staff, and community members to discuss how the university should define and track local and sustainable food for the campus. This provided stakeholders the opportunity to communicate their ideas and concerns and share resources, a huge step in this initiative.
One thing I must commend is the encouragement that is given towards students like us who want to undertake these initiatives. As interns, we receive support from the Office of Sustainability, but it is through the collaboration of several other university departments that we have been able to seize so many of these opportunities. For example, last summer I identified an opportunity in the labs for the promotion of a recycling program, but without the help of the Indiana University Office of Procurement and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety Management, it would have been difficult to move the project forward.
As we being the second half of the academic year, I am confident that we interns will meet and exceed many of our goals. My confidence is in the fact that I see a group that doesn’t just wait for opportunity to knock on the door; instead, I see a group that is constantly identifying ways in which it can improve our campus, streamline processes, or better our programs. Please continue to read our blogs, follow our progress, and lend your support to this year’s interns. Thank you.