Conserving the Environment at Foresight

Name: Sarah Walwema

Year: Senior

Major: Environmental Science

Minor: German

CFS Program: Field Studies in Environment, Science, and Sustainability

Employer: Foresight Design Initiative

Before I had this opportunity with Foresight, I had never before worked in an office environment long-term. I have always been passionate about the environment and had only worked on the conservation and ecological side of environmentalism before this. I had no idea what working at a non-profit consulting firm would entail, but I knew it was important that I gain experience in this field. As a senior leaving Northwestern (and as an environmentalist), it’s important to me that I’m looking at the full picture. For me, that meant examining the policy side of environmentalism to see how all of these moving parts fit together.

The most important lesson that I learned is that environmental initiatives cannot work without collaboration. At Foresight, this meant mediating collaboration between foundations, government agencies, and private firms to name a few. And to aide these firms in collaboration, the teams at Foresight have to be conflict mediators as well as professional environmental consultants. After recognizing this, I took this internship as an opportunity to work on my people skills as well as my professional office skills. Using the right language and anticipating points of conflict are a couple things that I picked up throughout my internship.

The readings in my CFS class further emphasized how different industries and fields have successfully (or unsuccessfully) worked together on environmental issues. I feel as though both the class and the internship gave me the opportunity to educate myself on the current state of sustainability and see where I would want to fit in in the future.