Here we are – four years after starting school and two years after starting the Office of Sustainability. My name is Rachael Ruggiero and I am a graduating intern at the OS. There’s been so much that has happened in my time here and I don’t know if I can fit it onto one post, however, I’m going to give it a try.
I started at the Office of Sustainability not knowing much about what the office does on campus. I think some of my connections across campus helped me get the job. I was about to become president of the Residence Hall Association on campus, and I had a leadership position in my sorority, Delta Zeta. These other clubs that I am involved in helped shape the programs and events I worked on in the office.
Starting from day one I was nervous to see what the work environment would be. I also ended up being one of the new hires who couldn’t login and get started right away, you know, because there is always one. However, despite this, I feel like I was really able to hit the ground running, especially in the EcoCaptain Intern program. At the time of my hire, it was a new paid program, a collaboration between ResLife and our office. From my work with RHA, it was easy to understand how the EcoCaptain Interns could work with other ResLife officials and clubs in their area to make a difference. In the two years I worked with the program, it has grown so much. We are able to better understand what we want from our EcoCaptain Interns and vice versa. This means that when they start in the fall their transition is much quicker and we’ve been able to get to know the EcoCaptain Interns on a different level and better integrate them into the office.
Another project which has taken up a significant time at the office is working on communications. I worked a lot with the communications team thinking of new ways to give the office a brand that could continue even after I graduate. I think working on the communication team has been one of my biggest accomplishments at the office. Working with the other awesome team members, we now have a “brand” we can be confident in. It was important to me that the office create promotional material that I think I would want to see if I were scrolling on Instagram, and now in the future I’ll be excited to see what office is bringing to campus from a promotional standpoint. The office also brought in our staff Communication, Outreach, and Education Coordinator, Betsy Mortensen, in Spring 2022. She has been instrumental in getting new projects and ideas started.
My other jobs at the office surround helping with events such as the Haunted HEEP, Green Game Days, Earth Day Spring Fling, and more. I love working with all of the interns, past and present. The office has afforded me insight in how the University manages sustainability and has created connections for me that I’ll never take for granted. I was particularly lucky to sit on the search committee for the Director of the OS. That opportunity gave me some of the most valuable information for my own job searches in the future, even though I was sitting in the interviews instead of being interviewed. I would have never had that opportunity without working at the OS and now I feel like I’ve helped make a long lasting change here. I am also very excited to see the work Joe Fullerton will be doing in the future!
Lastly I just wanted to thank everyone I’ve worked with in the office these past two years, my boss, Patrick McKee, the amazing interns who graduated last year, Hope, Maizey, and Lauren, had taught me so much before they left and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. The interns hired this year Amogh, Lilly, Sydney, Amanda, Allie and Leo have shown me that the office really can do anything, with all of their amazing ideas. I am also grateful for them because while there were so many projects our office is still working on, and I know we’re leaving everything in their very capable hands. I also want to thank the seniors graduating with me, Maggie, Erin, Chase, and Sam. I would be nowhere without them and they have become some of my greatest friends. I’ll never forget the impact that the Office of Sustainability had on my undergraduate career and hope to carry those lessons going forward.