As a 4th year Environmental Studies and Business student at the University of Waterloo, joining the Sustainable Waterloo Region (SW) team could not have come at a better time for me. Through my co-operative education I have had four other placements, none of which came close to providing me with an experience like the one I am having with SW.
The first week here was a whirlwind of tasks, meetings and emails that signified the official start of my journey with SW. After only a few hours I had already navigated my way up a dark stairwell (usually there are lights, but it would figure the lights were out on my first day on the job!), grabbed a treat from the bowl at the front desk and got to put faces to names of three of the 25 staff and volunteers I work with. Since then it has been a mish-mash of event attendance and planning, business cases and projects and the work is still coming in. I love it!
The two aspects of this position that make it stand out from the rest is the dedication to career development for the volunteers and being able to see firsthand that some organizations do believe that environment and business can work together. At SW I quickly learned that doing work you like and building life/work skills is a strong value which is shown in the one-on-one meetings Mike has with us. In these meetings we discuss progress, areas of improvement and things to work on which has been paramount to any other work experience. Witnessing environment and business working together has revamped my motivation for continuing down my career path as I have gotten to hear first-hand how organizations like SW have helped companies understand the “how to” instead of just pushing the “you should” of environmental initiatives.
Reconfirmation that what I am learning in school is increasingly important in the “real world” is amazing for me going in to my fifth and final year of my program.