Sunday, September 23, 2007

Journal Reflection

When I started my journal, I had a hard time deciding what changes to make. I already gave up my bus pass for the year and planned on walking to class. I don’t have a car on campus. Food is secured by Cornell Dining, and composted in the dining hall, and I recycle all the time. I decided to focus on my own water and energy use. While I don’t have much control over the heat (except for turning it off when it’s not necessary) I decided to pay attention to turning off lights, unplugging electronics I wasn’t using (printer, scanner), increasing the energy-saving mode on my computer, keeping showers short, putting “turn me off when you don’t need me” stickers on light switches in the building, and switched to using refillable coffee mugs and water bottles. So, the behavioral changes seemed easy. It was only my own behavior that I really had to control.

The challenge for me has been the cultural change. As a student assistant, I assumed it would be easier for me to plan events or activities that bring together a variety of people (students, staff, different cultural backgrounds) in order to build relationships.
“Socially, I’m going to help facilitate a discussion twice a month about making West Campus more sustainable. We’re hoping to have residents from all of the dorms attending the discussions and taking steps to improve the houses. We already have a suggestion for monitoring energy efficiency of windows, we just need volunteers to have a box put on their window sills (and be sure not to disturb it).”
I looked at the website on Fostering Sustainable Behavior and found a few good ideas. ie. Using prompts to remind residents in the Gothic buildings (notorious for drafty windows) to drop their blinds in winter to help reduce heat loss.

The journal has also helped me identify what one of my major barriers to social progress has been:
“So far, I’m feeling very unable to follow through on things due to time constraints. I really wanted to plan a planting event, but I just haven’t had enough time to develop a design to submit to the grounds department. Reading, trips, and work for classes, on top of staff and work commitments, leaves me with almost no time for anything extra.”

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