Green means go for new student sustainability team

Robert Arcuri and Ryley Harris received a promotion this year.

In the spring semester, the two served as interns in the Sustainability office. Now, the duo are stepping up to serve as coordinators of the office’s new Student Sustainability Leadership Team.

“They worked in the Sustainability office last year, got a lot of experience and developed an understanding of how things work,” said Sustainability Manager Josh Nease. “They did a great job and moving them into a leadership position this year is the logical next step. This is a great opportunity for them to apply their skills in a more professional environment.”

Arcuri and Harris will work with Nease to support the internship team in developing and coordinating events and projects designed to improve awareness of sustainability issues, promote participation in campus and community events and create a more sustainable campus.

Five Sustainability office interns will work with the coordinators.

“Over the course of the past year, working with the Sustainability office has taught me a lot about myself and has served as a learning experience, preparing me for similar professional undertakings in the future,” said Harris, a senior biology major from Virginia Beach. “I believe it is vital for all students to get such hands-on experience, and I am excited for this year’s intern team to have that experience.”

Arcuri, a geospatial science major from Leesburg, said working in the Sustainability office “is, and has been, such an amazing experience for me because I get the chance to give back in a way that I love and feel proud of. I can combine my passion for the environment and making a difference with my public speaking and social skills to shed a light on issues that can be fixed easily.”

The new program has many components that are “designed to promote sustainability outreach comprehension,” Nease said. “It also will help our coordinators and interns develop and practice important professional skills like leadership, critical thinking, written and verbal communication and collaboration with partners.”

During interviews for the intern positions, Nease found many students were interested in improving recycling and reducing food waste on campus.

“Those are two of the many areas our interns will focus on this year,” Nease said.

One main concentration for the group is coming up soon. October is National Campus Sustainability Month, and Nease said the student leadership team will focus on developing weekly events throughout the month.

“This leadership program is giving our students an opportunity to get their feet wet in planning, promoting and executing sustainability programs and initiatives,” Nease said. “They’re going to build sustainability knowledge, but they’re also going to become leaders through opportunities to work with partners to make good things happen. This program is a good application of knowledge and skills and is a win-win for the students and our campus.”

Aug 31, 2017
Chad Osborne