Humboldt State University

Students Lead the Way in First Year of Go Green Internship

Last year, HSUAF board members--and donors--came together to raise $107,000 for the Go Green Fund. In the 2017-18 academic year, the fund was used to launch the Go Green Internship program.

Through the internship program, Winessa (Winnie) Nartia-Stockart (Environmental Science, ‘18) and Megan Moore (Environmental Resources Engineering, ‘20) are tasked with achieving energy and water conservation at HSU, and also educating and creating awareness for behavior change on campus.

Winnie and Megan are working with Green Campus, a student-led group that reports to the Office of Sustainability. “Green Campus puts students in a position to think critically about complex, real world energy and water-related issues and challenges them to develop creative solutions,” explains Katie Koscielak, Sustainability Analyst and internship adviser to the Go Green interns and the Green Campus program.     

The Go Green interns play differing, but vital roles in educating the campus community and assessing energy use. Through the Go Green Internship, Winnie oversees a Green Campus production team, whose primary objective is communicating about sustainability programs, campaigns, and strategies. Much of the team’s effort this year was focused on energy reduction strategies for the monthly Power Down events, which aim to educate the campus on how to practice energy efficient changes.

Megan serves as the Green Campus Data Analyst and is responsible for conducting two main analysis tasks: She programs an energy calculator in Microsoft Excel that quantifies resource consumption and savings throughout campus for the Green Workplace Assessment (GWA) program, and she evaluates energy data for the Power Down campaigns, measuring the impact of sustainability efforts. 

Megan's role with Green Workplace Assessment has required her to tackle advanced engineering problems, such as developing empirical metrics and translating reduced carbon emissions into quantifiable monetary savings.

“I had to answer some very challenging questions, such as, ‘how do you set a baseline for energy and water usage, waste, and transportation?’ It was quite a task. I feel grateful being handed a great responsibility to develop this energy calculator. It’s helped me gain confidence,” explains Megan. “This is an integral, vital experience for my future.”

“I’ve been really impressed by Megan,” says Katie. “It’s great providing her direct, real world applications for the skills she’s acquiring.”

Megan says the internship is preparing her for her future career. “This work mirrors a lot of what I will be doing at engineering firms. Renewable energy is where the future is going and I want to be a part of it.”

Megan’s in-depth data analysis is complimented by the work of fellow Go Green intern Winnie, who focuses on outreach and education. Winnie produces media and materials related to the monthly Power Down events and also coordinates green networking events in the community.

“Our team educates the campus community through a variety of videos and social media campaigns. I direct and produce videos on how to reduce water and energy usage and limit waste on campus,” explains Winnie.

“My favorite experience so far has been developing a communication campaign to educate the campus community about energy conservation during our monthly Power Down events. It was a team effort and each person had a major role.”

Katie enjoys seeing students like Winnie grow into their responsibilities: “Winnie had the idea to create films that are entertaining and funny. The content is really accessible to her peers. She’s inspiring change by asking herself ‘how do we get people to care?’”

Winnie’s outreach efforts have had a positive effect on how much energy the campus has saved in comparison to previous Power Down events. Her efforts also resulted in greater monetary savings, highlighting the importance of education in reducing carbon emissions.  “Results showed we saved twice the energy and twice the money compared to earlier power down events,” says Winnie.

“We end up reaching around 4,000 viewers on social media,” explains Winnie. “There are little things everyone can do to reduce water and energy consumption. Through social media, we can spread the message for a greener future.”

Megan Moore

Both Megan and Winnie, who plan to pursue careers in renewable energy, say their perspectives on sustainability have changed since starting their Go Green internships. “I learned there are lots of components to sustainability and energy usage. I realized how large and complex the scope of this effort is,” explains Megan.

“I feel that there is hope,” adds Winnie. “This internship confirms what I want to do with my future. I want to live by my pledge and do this work for the rest of my life. Without this internship, I would be struggling to pay for school loans and I wouldn’t be able to spread the word that a small change can cause a ripple effect. This is our only home. I’m confident we can change for the better.”  

The Go Green Fund will continue to support sustainability-focused internships into the 18/19 academic year.

If you would like to support HSU students doing sustainability work on campus, you can give to the Go Green Fund. To learn more about the Go Green Fund, you can also visit their website here. If you have questions about giving, or would like to learn about other ways to support HSU students, visit loyalty.humboldt.edu, email the Office of Philanthropy at giving@humboldt.edu, or call 707-826-5200.