As a second year in the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo, this Sustainable Waterloo Region co-op placement is rather ideal. In the (collective) 12 months I’ve been in the study portion of my program, I have learnt quite a few expressions, concepts and theories that I was told would apply to me when I started in a work place.

From the beginning of my co-op term to present day not only have I been able to see the execution of all the things I’ve been learning in a lecture hall, but I’ve also been able to learn a great deal of things in a less academic style. My time here so far has proven to be quite the experience in seeing the real life application of the entire concept behind environment and business, and it’s only been a little over a month!

Business is one of the most prominent fields where even simple changes can make drastic changes to the environment, for the better. Through helping to plan Educational Forums and Technical Workshops I’ve learned a handful of aspects of business where the environment really comes into play (such as telecommuting or making small changes to the operations of a company.) Green marketing also comes into play, trying to sort out the real deal from the clever but not so true marketing. The variety of standards I have learned about in class (primarily ISO related) are something many businesses apply and I have had the opportunity to sit in on business development meetings where I got to experience firsthand the process of pitching the idea  to the execution of businesses seek to make positive environmental changes. Co-op at Sustainable Waterloo Region provides a different and compelling medium for learning; especially considering that a vast majority of learning a student does is generally in a classroom setting.

One concept that is predominate in all the courses I’ve taken, is the great degree of enthusiasm and passion needed to produce great results, especially in the environment field. Sustainable Waterloo Region is a prime example, and within the first couple of days I started working here it is quite prevalent that there is no lack of enthusiasm. To make a difference takes unrelenting effort, commitment and patience.

Even though it may be an overwhelming process of applying what I’ve been taught into the work place, it’s an exceptionally rewarding experience; reassuring me that I’m able to make an impact and use my knowledge not only for the next four months, but for a life time.