The Official Blog of the 2009 Sustainability Decathlon
Learn more about the Sustainability Decathlon.
Reflections of participants in the 2009 Sustainability Decathlon
The following postings have been filtered by tag Ideas for first meeting
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Friday, Feb. 6, 2009
Two years ago I participated in the first Sustainability Decathlon hosted by Santa Clara University in conjunction with the last Solar Decathlon. Having previous experience with this project, I hope to be even more prepared to be a mentor the schools that I will be working with this year.
Working with Leadership High School in East San Jose was an especially rewarding experience for me. The students who worked on the projects were really interested in learning about sustainability, which for many of them was an entirely new concept. This experience also taught me how to approach the subject of sustainability – at the time I knew a lot less than I know now about the actual topics, but mentoring this school’s team taught me more about how to be a mentor and talk about sustainability than I expect this year’s experience will. The reason why I say this is not because I do not expect to benefit from this year’s competition, because that would absolutely be untrue. I say this because I was so inexperienced in this kind of work at the time. It seems to me that both the students from Leadership and I both took a great deal from our time together during the Sustainability Decathlon in 2007.
This year I am looking forward to use what I have learned since the last competition in order to be the best mentor I can be. This year will come with new challenges that I am excited about working through. The most important challenge that I will be facing is working with a school located in San Francisco. During the last competition I was able to physically meet with the team at Leadership High School almost every week. Most mentors this year will be meeting with their teams on a biweekly basis. However, due to the distance between us, I will not be able to visit my team nearly as much, if at all.
This will seemingly complicate things, and seems to have the potential to put the school at a disadvantage. For example, I will not be there even if their only questions were concerning technicalities of the competition. The good news is that this team and I have already started to come up with ideas to solve this problem. As of now, we plan on communicating through the program Skype, which will allow us to speak as frequently as other teams see their mentors. This is also a good thing because it reduces the environmental impacts that are associated with commuting all the way to the school. I hope the teams at the high schools are as excited to begin the Sustainability Decathlon as the mentors are!
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009
Creative way to introduce ourselves
- Say our name and a fun fact about sustainability
- Ask the class facts about themselves, what they do that’s sustainable
- If they don’t have a sustainable fact about themselves, they can say why they want to participate in the Sustainability Decathlon
Introduce the project briefly
- What they will be doing
- Our role as mentors
- What they are doing in their club so far, and any ideas they have to make changes to campus/community, etc.
- This is a competition for the students, but explain how it is incorporated into the Solar Decathlon, some of the work they do will help the Solar Decathlon team/could be displayed in Washington D.C.
- Show website for Solar Decathlon and design for 2009 house
- Come up with design/logo for the Sustainability Decathlon T-shirts
- Look over Toolkit and decide which areas they are interested in
- Brainstorm ideas
Discuss ideas for San Jose High School campus
Get contact information from students in club
- Email Toolkit
- Keep in contact with students throughout Sustainability Decathlon
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009
Briefly introduce ourselves, including one sustainable behavior that we have incorporated into our daily lives. Have the students do the same.
Intro to Sustainability Decathlon
Briefly explain what the Sustainability Decathlon is and what they will be doing.
Describe what our role as mentors will be.
Ask about projects their club is currently working on, or ones they would like to start.
Go through the toolkit (email it to them), and come up with a few project ideas for the Sustainability Decathlon.
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009
Play a small and quick ice-breaker to start to get to know the students
Ask the students about their experience with sustainability and being “green”
Explain there are more ways then conserving to be sustainable
Sustainability encompasses many aspects of the community and we must take all of these into consideration during this competition
Ask them about their past experience in the competition and see if there are any returnees, do they have any ideas? What have they heard about the past competition?
Explain the Solar Decathlon
Goals of the competition
Explain we should focus on small manageable goals that can be accomplished at the school
Tell about the 2007 Solar Decathlon and what the benefits of the competition are
Display and explain the Tool Kit
Explain that the point of the Tool Kit is to help focus ideas for the competition and to hopefully get the students excited about the possibilities of the things that could take place at their school
Have everyone read the tool kit and start brainstorming ideas about what they want to do at their school
This is a very rough outline because I want to keep the first day pretty informal and more let the students tell Rose and me about what they want to get out of this experience. I feel as though the closer Rose and I become to these students the easier time they will have working with us and communicating what they want to do.
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009
For the first meeting with our school, St. Lawrence, I have a few ideas, but I’m having trouble really making a huge plan, because I want to be pretty flexible. Since I’m not sure what to expect yet, there are a few things that I hope will happen.
Once we introduce ourselves, I think it is important to figure out how well the students know each other, and how often they have worked together (if at all). Also, I hope to introduce the idea that we are all going to be on one team, working together, but to also determine what they think makes a team work well, like listening, respect, and honesty, so they can begin to apply those attributes to themselves.
After that I would hope to introduce sustainability, and see if or how they include sustainable habits in their lives, and work from there to brainstorm possible ways that they would like to apply sustainability to their school. If the getting familiar with each other part takes longer than expected, and there is less time for sustainability talk, I think that would still be okay. I think the more the students feel that they know Katherine and me, and feel as though they can express their ideas, the more we will be able accomplish in future meetings.