Major(s): Environmental Science, Psychology
CFS Concentration: Field Studies in Civic Engagement
For my internship with Chicago Field Studies, I am working at Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) – an environmental non-profit located in Oak Park, Illinois. At SGA, I am officially known as a Zero Waste Intern and I have been helping support three separate projects that our organization is currently working on.
The first of these projects is a We Compost Certification Program run through the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition. Through We Compost, I am helping to certify restaurants, businesses and institutions in Illinois as official commercial composts. This position entails reviewing applications and writing certification letters. However, I am also currently working to expand the program by developing a webinar to education possible partner organizations on what and how to commercial compost.
The second project is supporting PlanItGreen, a program designed to enhance the vibrancy and quality of life of Oak Park and River Forest via sustainability. I am currently working on a residential Waste Reduction Education Campaign that involves recruiting community “Green Guides” who will be point persons for their blocks on questions ranging from lawn care to composting. To support the guides, I am also working on developing materials that they can utilize and hand-out to their neighbors to help explain and promote sustainability. My current project is to develop a refrigerator flier on recycling and composting.
Finally, I am helping to implement pilot program for Chicago Public Schools that will help ten public-schools become certified commercial composting sites. This job entails reviewing applications from dozens of public schools in the Chicago area and then helping to implement the program at the chosen schools. Implementation involves assisting the school in the creation of a Zero Waste Team, meeting with the building engineers to go over the changes necessary “behind the scenes” in the current waste-disposal system, educating teachers and students to be Zero Waste Ambassadors of the new composting program and, lastly, giving a school-wide assembly to all of the students to teach them about composting and why their school has chosen to compost. This position has allowed me to develop many educational tools for the schools that will be used currently and built upon in future as the program expands.
Overall, I could not be happier with my internship. I have learned so much about non-profits and the field of sustainability and truly feel that the hands-on experience I am getting at SGA compliments what I have learned through my Environmental Science major. I am very grateful for the scholarship I have been given which alleviated the cost of commuting and has allowed me to take full advantage of this unique opportunity as an intern at SGA.