Our IYEYS conference provides a valuable learning experience to GVSU students

This article is a post that comes from Greening Forward’s legacy blog. It was originally written on March 30, 2013.

Published: Jan 1, 2021

Our IYEYS conference provides a valuable learning experience to GVSU students

What I learned in my one week spent working with Greening Forward could fill a course curriculum for a 12-week college course. I had gone to a high school that tried to make its students more environmentally conscious, but my minuscule knowledge on the subject expanded immensely thanks to Greening Forward. The tour of Southface that my group mates and I were fortunate enough to go on was one of the highlights of my educational journey. I had never thought to consider just how important window placement was to the heating, cooling, and lighting of a building. The amount of thought that had to go into making Southface such an energy-efficient and sustainable building was astonishing. From the individual floor tiles to make cleaning easier, to the outdoor blinds, right down to the reuse of waste materials, Southface showed how so many resources and items can be reused or reduced. The trip to the Hickory Ridge landfill was eye-opening, especially since we were standing atop a mountain of garbage 200 feet high into the air. However, this particular landfill manages to give back to the community by providing electricity to about a few hundred homes.

The International Young Environmentalist Youth Summit showed me just how much of a difference young people like my group mates and myself could make. We can make a difference by taking the bus to school and work, which is something that I already do, and we can make a difference by just finding what we are passionate about and pursuing that passion until our voices our heard. The week I spent being a part of the Greening Forward community, as well as the surrounding communities of Atlanta, was well worth the fifteen hours we spent in our van to get here.

Editor’s Note: This guest blog comes to you by Paloma Deerfield, one of our Grand Valley State University students from Allendale, MI who’d rather volunteer their Spring Break through a program at their school called Alternative Breaks. We are grateful some of these students decided to drive 17 hours to Atlanta to learn about sustainability. Their week ended by helping us plane out International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit.

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