LAUREN KIM

Sophomore, Yale University, New Haven, CT

What five words best describe your PGC experience?

Motivational, transformational, fun, collaboration, rewarding

What was most memorable from your PGC experience?

For one of the challenges, we were called to make our own version of a “Better Burger”. Inspired by Lauren’s Korean heritage, we decided to make a black bean and gochujang (a traditional Korean red pepper sauce) burger. However, Jinno did not have any Korean ingredients at home, so we enlisted the help of Lauren’s mom who let Jinno borrow some of her gochujang and some homemade pickled vegetables. Through sharing resources and bridging communities, we were able to create a more sustainable burger. Lauren’s mom was even inspired to think of her own ways in which she can live more sustainably. PGC unexpectedly built a community and showed us that any opportunity is one to inspire others to live more sustainable lives. This experience just showed how our PGC challenges have built community connections and engagement on all sorts of levels.

What have you learned about yourself over the past 30 days?

Lauren: There are many layers to sustainability that I discovered through PGC. As I continue to learn more about sustainability, I realized just how much I need to work on improving my own personal self. It does not mean anything unless I ACT on what I have learned. In order to form successful habits, I need to first recognize what is lacking in my own life. To really be an environmental advocate, I need to make sure that I am living my own life in the most sustainable way possible. I have always considered myself a very straightforward person, but I realized that I have a creative side as well. I really enjoyed exploring different mediums during the PGC challenge and pushed myself to draw and design.
Jinno: Over the last 30 days it has further reinforced why I choose to pursue an environmentalist lifestyle. I felt small in what is was doing, whether it be eating vegan, thrift shopping, or just spending the extra money to encourage local businesses. Seeing all the amazing participants makes me feel that what I am doing is the right thing for my health and the environment. I have learned that there are TONS of young and inspiring students, just like me, wanting a better future for all of humanity.

Ilana Zeitzer

Junior, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

What five words best describe your PGC experience?

Inspiring, Mobilizing, Engaging, Educational, reflective

What was most memorable from your PGC experience?

One of the most memorable events for me during this challenge was when I hosted a showing of Time to Choose. I invited my friends, members of the Tree Club, and the Eco-reps. The day came for the showing and the crowd was smaller than I had hoped. But the small group ended up being great because it allowed for a very involved discussion. We discussed the PGC, our eco-heroes, city layout and its impacts on emissions, experiences around the world, and how different places recycle, take care of food waste, and bike. We also discussed change we want to see on campus and in our country and each chose a change for ourselves. Espoir is carrying her trash for a week, Paige and I are reading labels for palm oil, Nastia is using a reusable straw, and more.

What have you learned about yourself over the past 30 days?

It’s amazing how discovering the world helps you discover yourself. I began the challenge knowing I was going to learn about the environment and various issues, I did not realize how much I would learn about me. I slowly started to step out of my comfort zone. I talked to people I barely knew, posted on Facebook, I have lead discussion, organized events and done some strange things for these challenges. While I had been working towards this I believe I progressed more in the past month than the past year. I have learned I can speak out when I am passionate, and I can be heard. I can be an eco-hero just like I dreamed long ago in fifth grade.

I have also learned so much about my habits. I never would have thought my lifestyle used over a thousand gallons of water, or that some of my favorite snacks are causing deforestation. I have learned about areas in my lifestyle that I need to improve upon. I have also learned change is not as hard as it seems. I have switched out health products with scores of F and D for ones that score A on think dirty and I feel better than before. Food changes are not as hard as they seem, often some great alternatives are easy to make and find and eating vegan meals a few times a week is not a problem at all!

Christine Dobbin

Senior, Rice University, Houston, TX

What five words best describe your PGC experience?

enriching, engaging, enlightening, entertaining, enabling

What was most memorable from your PGC experience?

We all agreed that the most memorable part of this was the formation of our team. Meredith and I were chatting about our ideas for a post-consumer composting project after Environmental Club at the beginning of October. We talked for a while about it and then got side-tracked by plastic-free project ideas. Travis and Amy joined our conversation, Travis, because he had experience working with the Rice administrators on environmental projects and, Amy, because she was interested in learning more about the solutions for environmental problems in our world.
We soon ended up talking about Project Green Challenge after Travis had brought it up to us. It did not take long for us to decide on joining and forming a team.

This was a very exciting time for us all because we discovered other people that were equally enthusiastic about environmental activism as we each were individually.

What have you learned about yourself over the past 30 days?

Over the last 30 days, we have learned that it is possible to have an impact as one person or a small group. However, the caveat was that we had to recognize the need to focus on making a larger impact on fewer topics rather than smaller impacts on more diverse topics. These were important for us to recognize because they are key in making a sustainable and significant impact.