Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sustainability Office Fall Retreat

On October 4, UC Santa Cruz Sustainability Office students and staff, as well as interns in the Provost's Sustainability Internship Program, gathered for a day packed with knowledge, bonding and planning for the coming year! The morning started with a delicious breakfast and mingling, followed by some get-to-know-you games, and an introduction to sustainability at UCSC. Other topics covered throughout the morning included climate action and the Carbon Fund and how to manage work, plan projects, and have effective meetings. These trainings were led by some of our fantastic staff: Lacey Raak, Elida Erickson, Chrissy Thomure, and Melissa Ott. In addition to sustainability and professional development trainings, this year's retreat included diversity, inclusion, and communication as one of its major topics.


One activity in particular was called "We See From Behind Our Eyes," where one partner described a picture to the other (who could not see the picture), and the parter who could not see the projected picture, had to draw the picture as it was described from their teammate. Laughter, confusion, and silly-looking drawings ensued, but a poignant lesson was learned about the importance of and challenges with clear communication while working with others. In our own heads, we "see" things in a particular way, but when trying to explain concepts or ideas to others, we have to make sure we are considering how they might be "seeing" our explanation. Even when we're all speaking the same language, there is a certain level of translation that occurs--being clear and understanding can minimize how much is lost in this translation. 

Other activities in this session included writing "I Am From" poems, exploring how to build lasting relationships with other organizations and individuals, and brainstorming our Office Principles of Community based on the UCSC Principles of Community (read them here).

One of the last activities we did at the retreat was a fun waste relay led by the Zero Waste Team, where students put their recycling/waste/compost sorting knowledge to the test in the form of a fast-paced relay race. Everyone won in the form of enhanced knowledge about our different waste streams on campus. We wrapped up the day-long retreat with a small trek to a gorgeous wooded area on campus, where everyone shared one word summing up their experience that day (inspiring, motivated, learning, new friends, just to name a few!). After a team cheer and photos, we said our goodbyes, rejuvenated and excited for the coming year. What a great way to kick start the new school year! Thank you to all who made the retreat possible!




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