So today was my presentation for RIT Libraries’ second annual Food For Thought day. Food For Thought is discussed more in detail on the Library Garden blog featuring an interview with Jon Jiras, a colleague and one of the event team leads. The presentation was titled “Seeing Green: Options for a Sustainable Existence” and was co-presented by College of Science Liaison Adwoa Boateng. Our web resource handout (which we decided to have exclusively online in the spirit of sustainability) is located on the Food For Thought website.
This was a “brown bag session” which meant it was only one hour and participants were encouraged to bring their lunch. We also determined that our session was going to be very informal and that participants would be encouraged to chime in with ideas, opinions, or information about current environmental projects. First I discussed some ways to make a difference in your home, at work, regarding food, and transportation. Then Adwoa took the stage to discuss some projects people at RIT are working at, and then Stephen Garland talked about the green lung project he has been working on.
I’m not going to rehash the information here, because our slides are linked above. I do, however, want to talk about the presentation in general. To be honest, the feedback we received was not very good. We handed out evaluations, and the few that were returned gave us okay “scores” but the comments were particularly revealing. Participants wanted more detailed information. They wanted local resources rather than generalized ideas.
You might think that I would be offended by these comments. In fact, I am excited and impressed. I went into this presentation thinking that people might need the basics, just main ideas about things they can do to reduce their impact. But I obviously didn’t give the general public enough credit! It seems that the recent popularization of “green” eco-friendly living trends is really effective. I think people attended this event already had the basics down and were looking for the next step. This is wonderful news! I hope that people decide to act on the information they have gleaned, regardless if they have gotten it from some corporation wanting to hop on the bandwagon of sustainability or if they have gotten it from somewhere more impartial.
I wish I could work on a second session of more detailed information, especially regarding resources in the Rochester area, as I am familiar with many. Alas, Food For Thought is a one day event and this was my only chance, as I’ll be leaving at the end of the month. One idea that seemed to generate a lot of discussion was the possibility of creating a carpool/ridesharing system for staff. It was determined that there is already an outlet for this for students, but as one participant pointed out, “We’re poor too!” At RIT, we are launching into an extensive multi-year transportation plan, and hopefully more sustainable methods are being incorporated into that system (biking, trails, carpooling options). It would be awesome to see incentives for employees who bike or rideshare to work, as institutional support can go a long way both financially and in terms of staff mental health and institution reputation.
Perhaps I will receive some more evaluations later in the week. Overall, I am impressed with RIT staff & faculty knowledge of these issues and very glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2008 Food For Thought!