Our sustainability interns have been hard at work since the end of the semester. This summer, the Rice Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management (ACSEM) took on five interns, all working on different essential projects for the ACSEM.
McMurtry College ‘20 - Political Science
Favorite food: Vegan grilled “ham” and “cheese”
ACSEM project: As a returning intern from the academic year, I’m continuing my work on our social media pages and monthly newsletters. I’m also leading the editing and design of our first annual report, as directed by Richard Johnson.
Other summer occupations: Reading biographies, taking long road trips, exploring Chicago, completing an internship with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
Sustainability tip: Recycle! In most cases, it’s as easy as throwing your plastic garbage a few inches to the left into the recycling bin instead of the trash. If you have to, hold onto your empty plastic water bottle or metal soda can for a little bit until you can properly dispose of it.
Baker ‘20 - Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Energy and Sustainability Focus)
Favorite food: Curry with sweet potatoes! Actually, anything with sweet potatoes…
ACSEM project: Earlier in the summer I did a lot of work with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) first annual report, particularly in recording information on all of the professors with research related to sustainability — 47 percent of all professors at Rice! Currently I am still working on the annual report by assessing Rice’s affordability and accessibility for low-income students, and now I am also writing articles for the Sustainability Newsletter and creating a flyer to advertise the newsletter! The other sustainability interns and I are always trying to think of new ideas to make Rice more sustainable as well, and we’re hoping to pursue some of these ideas after finishing the annual report.
Other summer occupations: Going to London, Paris, and Gothenburg, Sweden, for a study abroad program in urban sustainability, reading good classics and memoirs, sailing and hiking with my family in Door County, Wisconsin, running and practicing yoga, trying out new, environmentally-friendly recipes.
Sustainability tip: Problems related to sustainability and the environment can seem really overwhelming and too large to tackle, but there are honestly so many easy things you can do to help, especially at Rice. If you ever have an idea for a project or small initiative you want to see happen at Rice, there are actually a lot of resources and people that can help! Did you know there’s a fund set aside at Rice specifically for student-led sustainability initiatives? Apply to the Rice Environmental Society Initiative Fund and they’ll not only give you funding, but also give you guidance and support with your project! You can also always contact the sustainability office or any of us interns. There are so many opportunities at Rice to go green — you just have to take that first step and get your ideas out there!
Jones College ‘19 - Civil and Environmental Engineering
Favorite food: Ice cream with fresh berries
ACSEM project: My main project involves gathering and inputting data into the AASHE STARS website. This year Rice is going for a gold rating, and I want to help achieve that goal. My secondary project is assisting with the facilities annual report. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of Rice’s kindest behind-the-scenes workers, and many of them have great stories to tell!
Other summer occupations: I spent June in London, Paris, Gothenburg, and in the Cinque Terra with Rice’s urban sustainability and livability class. My hobbies include running, drinking coffee, baking, and painting.
Sustainability tip: WALK! Walking is great for the environment and even better for your health.
Wiess College ‘18 - Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Environmental Engineering Focus)
Favorite food: Shipley’s Glazed Donut
ACSEM project: This summer I’m working with the AASHE STARS program, which measures Rice’s level of sustainability in all aspects. I do research and input data related to Rice’s sustainability levels. Hopefully we’ll be able to reach gold status this year! I also have written some articles for the sustainability newsletter and done research on how Rice could implement sustainability into high school enrichment programs.
Other summer occupations: Working with an environmental management NGO in Rwanda earlier this summer, experimenting with cooking, drinking iced soy milky ways.
Sustainability tip: Learn how to cook! Cooking your own food can help reduce waste and can help you ensure that you’re eating the freshest and most sustainable foods. It’s also really fun to experiment and see what flavors work together and what flavors don’t. (Note: Kale and spinach may look similar but one of them works well in pasta and one doesn’t!)
McMurtry College ‘20 - Environmental Science, Theater
Favorite food: Lasagna with lots of cheese
ACSEM project: This summer I am working on a couple of projects. The first project I started was helping Rice Housing and Dining (H&D) to deconstruct the Morningside apartments off campus and recycle the building materials. I am now also helping H&D research sustainable design that they could implement into the new graduate housing after the old building is torn down. I am also helping to fill out a Bicycle Friendly University application for Rice through Bicycle Friendly America (BFA). BFA recognizes organizations, communities, and institutions that create and promote a bike friendly environment. This is our first time filling out the BFA application so hopefully we will be recognized as a bike-friendly campus. I am also helping organize utilities consumption data from the past 16 years.
Other summer occupations: I also have a job as a Rice tour guide, which keeps me busy when I’m not working on ACSEM projects. I am expanding my repertoire of recipes that I can cook, which of right now is abysmally small. I will also be taking the National Registry EMT exam this summer to get certified as an EMT.
Sustainability tip: Try taking public transit! It can be intimidating especially for people who have not lived in a large city, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very straightforward. It can be very easy to become comfortable with driving everywhere when you have a car, but taking public transit — especially when you would otherwise be driving alone — can help greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, Rice students can ride for free!