Sustainability 750 is the capstone course for the sustainability dual major. When registering for this course, it was hard for me to believe that I was almost finished with my dual major experience. It seemed like just yesterday I was learning the fundamental principles of sustainability and the methods used in sustainability science. But, when it came back to registering, I knew that I had learned a lot during my time at UNH that has prepared me for the completion of this experience.
Going into this course, I was not sure what to expect. I knew from previous semesters that SUST 750 would involve small teams working collaboratively on a research project to tackle a sustainability issue in the area. Before the semester started, my classmates and I were given a list of the research topics to rank; the topics included: costal resilience in Maine, carbon net zero at UNH, B-Corp. clinic, and marketing the sustainability dual major. The costal resilience topic was interesting to me, net zero was not so much. The B-Corp group was my top choice originally, for I worked at a B-Corp office, but I had another class when that group had a mandatory meeting. Marketing was something that I had never learned about formally, so it would all new to me. Which topic did I end up picking as my top choice and then get placed in? Marketing the sustainability dual major.
Even though I had little experience in marketing, I tried my hardest to not let this hold me or my team back. But, to my surprise, having such a limited experience in marketing didn’t prove to be a big problem. In areas that I was lacking, my team members could fill in the gaps in my knowledge and provide me with support. When my team was stuck in some part of the research process, I was able to share some of my skills with them that they did not have as much experience in. For example, I knew little about the basics of marketing mediums and messages, but I was able to bring in some of my research experiences from previous courses. Even though there were times when the work distribution was a bit skewed one way or another from time to time, the support of my team and the dedication that everyone has brought has made this one of the most impactful experiences at UNH.
Outside of the research projects, SUST 750 has had two major focuses in the classes: reflection on the dual major experience and the research process. When reflecting about the experiences, I really enjoyed talking with different classmates and learning about the great things that they have done in their paths in college. Learning the research process has been insightful and has already been helpful for another course that I am taking.
One part of SUST 750 that I will not ever forget, for it is the elephant in the room, is the impact of COVID-19, or the coronavirus. This virus has spread rapidly throughout the world and has caused harm to counties, communities, families and individuals. To protect the people in the university community, UNH has made all courses online for the second half of the Spring 2020 semester; this includes SUST 750. Hearing the news left me speechless. I knew it was for the best, but it left the UNH community with a great deal of uncertainty. I am proud to say that through this unprecedented time, the faculty and administration have been supportive to each other, to the students and to everyone in the UNH community. I didn’t think that my sustainability or UNH experience would end this way, but when everyone has worked together, the semester was able to move forward.