Even though SUST 750 had a changed format for the second half of the semester because of the transition to online learning, I really loved coming to in-person class and still enjoy attending the live Zoom sessions. The best part of SUST 750 was the classroom environment, both in-person and virtual. It was really nice to reconnect with people who I had taken SUST 401 and 501 with, as well as other friends I had made since taking those classes. It was also special to have the shared mindset of wanting to make the world a better place. We talked about how we never even considered bringing plastic water bottles or straws to class, not because we would be shamed but because that just wouldn’t fit in with our class dynamic. Everyone in our class seemed to want to be there and contributed to the classroom community in their own unique way. Specifically, I really enjoyed getting to know everyone better in our little sustainability “café” discussions.
SUST 401 Stormwater Field Trip - some of us were in this class and 750 together
Being in our capstone groups was also very rewarding. I worked with Luke, Sawyer, and Catie on the Net Zero Carbon project, and we all got along really well and brought our own skills, knowledge, and experiences to the table. We came from different majors – Business/Marketing, Environmental Engineering, Community and Environmental Planning, and English, but our shared interest in sustainability and passion for making a change is what connected us. It was truly an interdisciplinary team like we talked about in SUST 501 because we each had different strengths that we could lean on when working on our research and report and preparing for interviews. We felt that this combination of majors worked really well because we had each developed our own skills from our particular major classes but also some of the same skills from taking the SUST 401 and 501 classes.
SUST 501 Tides to Storms field trip with some of my group members!
Dairy Bar lunch - we took pictures of the food but forgot to take pictures of us
I thought that our team was also great at communicating with each other – we were understanding of our teammates’ busy schedules, but also wanted to stay on the same page and ensure that we were all getting our work done. Something else that I thought contributed to our team dynamic was going to lunch together at the Dairy Bar in between class time and meetings with our mentor. This may seem small, but it was great to have a chance to get to know each other outside of the project and hear what was going on in each other’s lives. I think it solidified our collaborative efforts and team bonds because we were able to see each other as friends instead of just teammates. Even though this isn’t necessary for every group project, I think that in a project like this, it’s very important because it makes everyone want to work hard for the good of the team. When everyone recognizes where the others are coming from and cares about each other, it makes people more willing to work so they don’t let the team down.
This class was a great end to my SDM experience, even though the structure changed a lot with the switch to Zoom classes. It was special to participate in a senior group project, which I’d been looking forward to for a while, especially because I hadn’t done many group projects before in my English major. It was also a great culmination of all that we had learned in 401 and 501 – we were using collaborative efforts and interdisciplinary teamwork that we had learned about in 501 to make a difference in coming up with solutions to relevant sustainability challenges that we had learned about in 401. Overall, even though I’ll definitely miss getting to present at the URC and sharing my research in-person with other members of the UNH community, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be in this class. I’m also grateful for the continued classroom community in our new online format, and I’m sure that many of these friendships will continue even after we graduate.