Environmental Education Center
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.