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Environmental Education Center
by Pei-Ping Mo

Introduction

EEC? Environmental Education Center! I have never heard of it before. That's what my first reaction is like when I first heard about it. After this whole semester of hard work, I hope that more people will know about the center much better than before. This is the main purpose of this semester's assignment-- to organize and promote EEC as an environmental clearinghouse for everybody who interested in finding out about environmental issues.

Conclusion

In summary, the EEC is established now with a computer system where books and magazines are filed. The EEC now has is own homepage with many web links available. Many different types of books and magazines are organized on shelves for use. Newsletters and Journals, and Papers are filed in the Cabinet according to their topics and sources. Comfortable chairs and a big round marble table are provided to be used by the public in a neatly organized office, Sage 2512. Meetings are held in EEC constantly. Setting up the EEC is quite an accomplishment this year.

However, there is always room for improvement. A brief short "To Do" list is saved in MS Words as "TODO.DOC" for next semester's URP or Workstudy student. A more detailed document is also available for URP/Workstudy students under the file "INSTUCT.DOC". I hope that EEC URP/Workstudy students will take good use of the things set up for them and may the EEC prosper through the years to come.

Abstract

This report consists of six parts: abstract, introduction, running the EEC, constrained problems and solution, acquirement, and a conclusion. This abstract provides a summary of what this report is about. In the introduction, I introduced the EEC as a clearinghouse. Running the EEC is exactly as what is it said, "How I go about running the EEC?". There are also problems that I bumped into while running the EEC. They will be discussed in section Constrained Problems and Solutions. Then, I discuss what I learned in the Acquirement section. In the conclusion, I included what we have accomplished for this semester.

Running the EEC

After responding to the "URP positions for credits" advertisement, I was first introduced to the EEC by Nicole Farkas, a very generous and dedicated person to the Ecologic Club. She has helped a great deal in learning about EEC and has supported me all the way while I was running EEC with Sarah, another URP student.

First of all, the office started with boxes of books, magazines and old folders on the floor. Computer components and printer were unassembled in a corner. Garbage Cart was in the middle of the room. Overall, it was a messy sight. Hence, we repainted the whole office white, cleaned up, threw away many useless papers and boxes, rearranged the furniture, and set up the computer and printer. It took us about two weeks to make the office look reasonable.

After the office was cleaned up, we started to organize the old files into different folders alphabetically and chronically according to their topics in the cabinet. We also arranged the books alphabetically, and the magazines chronically and alphabetically. Then we wrote up a list for both the books and the magazines. Soon they were typed up into the computer. Later on, we also wrote up an abstract and a category file for the books. They are named "ABSTRACTS.DOC" and "BOOKLST.DOC" respectively under Microsoft WORD. We also set up a loan log in the Black Binder for people who are interested in borrowing a book on the shelf. A Summer Internship Folder is also made available on shelf.

While we were organizing the resources, we looked into techniques for promoting the EEC. We talked with a lady in Writing Center about their techniques in promoting their office. We adapted some great ideas from them such as flyer, homepage, and professors for promotion. Soon we were able to divide the work among each other.

I looked for a sofa for the office for a while. However, after a meeting with Steve and Sarah, we decided not to buy it because there's not enough space for it. I also designed the EEC sign on the door. It seemed like people started to notice EEC. A few people came in to ask us about the EEC. We gladly introduced them what we know so far about the EEC. To make the EEC office looked even better, I decorated the room with some black and white scenery on the wall to give it a little classy and artistic outlook.

On our actions toward promotion, we both designed an EEC flyer. We colored and decorated the flyers with flowers, plants, recycling signs, etc. We also colored the flyers for the Ecologic Club, the founder of the EEC. After the flyers were posted around the campus, they gave us a very positive result. Some students called Nicole about next year's URP and Workstudy. More people started to come by the EEC office and inquire for information. A lady suggested a "nature walk" for interested students. Many students were interested in it. Next year's URP may help set that up with that lady. More information can be obtained from Sarah or Steve. Also, a few Ecologic students started to bring in stuff for EEC. Thanks to Emily and Tina, we have a clock, more books, plant, flowery posters for decoration. Emily, Dan and I came up with a list of things that EEC can use. If next year's URP students can get those items, it would be even better for the comforts of people in using EEC.

We also worked on our EEC homepage. We searched through web links that contained useful information that people may be interested in. We designed the outline of EEC homepage together. I continued to work on the details while Sarah worked on something else. With the help of another URP/Workstudy, the homepage is set up on line. Many web links are connected. However, the references and abstracts of the books are not inputted into the homepage yet. I also took some pictures of current URP/Workstudy students to be put into the homepage under a possible title, "URP Students in Action". It was an attempt for advertisement or promotion.

Updating and enriching our resources, we also decided to order new books and magazines for the EEC. I emailed professors about the list of magazines that people value as a worth reading magazine. I also searched through the net and found some very interesting books that we can order. After a period of research, we decided to order: EPA, Nature Conservancy, Sierra, World Watch, and Environmental Engineers. Another task for next year's URP is to catch up the ordering with Steve and find more resources/references.

We also organized an open house activities with food and drinks, "Open All Day Thursday" where some Ecologic members volunteered holding the office for some hours. Also, recyclable Rensselaer Mugs are distributed out for free in EEC. It was quite successful in bringing people in. Many students and professors dropped by to browse through books and magazines. Some even started to borrow books and magazines. Even though the book loaning log is set up, a better system is required to enforce that the borrowed items are returned.

Keeping the Black binder in place and updating the time log is important. Not only did it help me keeping track of what I was doing, it also helped my partner knowing what I did. It was a great help to both of us in running the EEC office!


Constrained Problems and Solutions

Running the EEC is not an easy task, especially when our partnership started out of nowhere. Sarah and I have different backgrounds and personalities while we both didn't really know where to start. Hence, it added to our difficulty in communicating with each other at the beginning.

She started the EEC from the Ecologic meeting while I started through an ad from Ecologic. I was informed differently about the requirements in running the EEC. She knew Steve Trowbridge, our supervisor, quite well from the Ecologic club, therefore they were working together really well, especially when Sarah is a freshwoman with an amazing amount of energy. Meanwhile, my situation was different. I hadn't really met with Steve until the second week. I found working with him at the beginning was quite difficult because he came into picture quite a surprise to me. I didn't know that I was supposed to report to him about my work instead of this other person, named Steve Breyman, a professor who was signed as my supervisor. Steve T. has always been a busy person, I found it hard to get to know him and understand what he want. Especially when I had a pretty hectic schedule with many things to take care of after returning from a co-op assignment, in a while, when I was ready to put more time into EEC, I felt quite lost and disappointed when Steve seemed biased toward delegating tasks for Sarah to do.

However, this problem was solved slowly when I finally decided that I would have to go to the Ecologic meeting. I needed to learn more about the club so that I can get out of this mess. It was quite a meeting that night. They played a special game where everybody goes around pointing out things they have against each person. Guess how lucky I was! I was the first one to go. I mumbled a few things in confusion and then passed. However, as the game went along, I was amazed at how open these people are. It really gave me a new look to this club even though I was criticized that I should show up more often in the meetings a lot. I didn't mind because I felt that if I did before, I would have done a much better job. I wouldn't be disappointed in myself earlier. After the meeting, I understood the club and people much better. I started to attend every meeting except one or two that conflicted with my exam schedules. Their meetings are pretty interesting. The topics are very different from the ones that I have ever seen. It was quite an amusement to me to see how intelligent and creative these people are.

Working with Sarah and Steve become better and better. We have EEC meetings almost every week to update and to plan ahead of what to do next. We got a lot of things done for this semester.


Acquirements

I have learned a great deal this semester working in the EEC under the Undergraduate Research Program. Not only had I learned a great deal about many environmental issues through searching through the webs or the books and magazines on the shelf, I also learned to deal with unexpected problems like I discussed above. Ecologic members are very inspiring people. They all have some much enthusiasm and energy on their works. Most of them are very pleasant to work with. They really gave me a new perspective in life. Even though I may not be able to join them again next year because of the busy schedule I planned for next year, I would love to join them on my spare time to volunteer and help out in some of their activities.

line
Steve Davis daviss@rpi.edu
(Greening Coordinator)
 
Webmaster: devrid@rpi.edu

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