2020_Micinilio_SUST750

Sustainability 750 is the capstone course for the sustainability dual major. We were divided into groups in such a way that each group had students from all different primary majors. It is necessary for people with different academic backgrounds to come together to address grand challenges. The more academic variety, the better! I was placed in a team with an engineer, a writer, and a businessman. Together, we researched how universities across the nation achieve net zero carbon initiatives by using the process of co-production. We then used our findings to suggest how the University of New Hampshire could achieve its goal of carbon net zero emissions by 2050. I learned a lot through my research, but the greatest thing I learned was the value of working in a diverse group to make the infeasible, feasible. Our group was dynamic. Each of us had unique ideas and perspectives to contribute. We all worked well together from the start, and I contribute this to our ability to see the value each of us brought to the table. We showed up for each other, always. In the middle of an already challenging project, we were faced with a global pandemic that resulted in each of us moving back to our own homes in different states. Our meetings changed settings from a classroom and the library to the online zoom platform. Covid 19 changed our lives very suddenly, and we all processed this in our own ways. We were addressing a grand challenge while living in the midst of one. Some days, it was difficult to get through the day, let alone focus on carbon net zero initiatives. In the face of uncertainty and challenging times, we showed each other compassion. This is how we showed up for each other. Each of our difficult days came at different times, and when one person couldn't pull their weight of the project, we picked up the slack and carried that person along with us. The people picking up the slack and the person being carried differed depending on the day, and the research project continued to progress. I learned what it means and what it feels like to be a part of a successful team. It is essential to work well in diverse groups when working in the field of sustainability. The key to achieving desired outputs is focusing on process. The process of collaboration must at its core value each stakeholder, hold room for compassion, and be flexible in the face of unpredicted challenges. I am grateful for this experience and its ability to show me the power of working in diverse groups to address sustainability challenges.