When I first came to the College of Charleston in the Fall of 2014, I was one of the people who had a hard time even grasping the concept of simple recycling, much less the whole idea of sustainability; so how did I end up becoming apart of the Office of Sustainability?
It began when I heard from Katie, an awesome girl in my sorority who worked in the Office, that they were taking applications for Greek Chairs- a program in the office that specifically teaches Greek students about sustainability. I decided to apply because 1) I wanted to hangout with Katie more and 2) I wanted to meet more people and expand my friend group (I didn’t really start out with the best intentions.) Being a Greek Chair was a great experience because it slowly introduced me to the concept of sustainability and the Office. We would go on field trips to places like GrowFood, and I would participate in beach sweeps from hearing about it through the program. One of the things I heard about through the Greek Chairs program was about an upcoming event called Social Justice Coffee Hour. It was going to be about Women in the Work place, which sounded interesting to me because one day I would be a woman in the work place (hopefully.) I decided to attend and was immediately blown away by how different this forum was from other types of lectures I had attended at the College. There were three speakers, each one speaking from three very different angles about the topic. We then broke into small groups and discussed the topic in personally, something I felt like I never get to do in class or other lectures: actually have dialogue about the subject. I was so excited by the end of the forum and immediately after the event texted Katie asking how I could get involved helping with this in the future. Katie gave me Nicole’s number, who had put on the whole event. I met with Nicole, who was so lovely and excited that I was interested, and she told me the best way to get involved would be to apply as an intern at the Office.
I was still hesitant about applying to the Office because hearing the word sustainability still scared me a little, but felt like learning about the social justice aspect was such a cool thing I wanted to continue to explore what I thought the definition was. Joining the office turned out to be one of the best decisions, I’ve not only met so many great people, but have come so far in my understanding about how sustainability and social justice must coexist to work. I have now helped Nicole put on two more coffee hours, which was so exciting to be apart of the process and seeing all our hard work come to fruition.
-Kelly Jackson; Sustainability Intern