You are starting a life-changing adventure. Your college experience is a big deal. It’s a good time to think about what you’d like the next year to be about and how you can make the most of it.
I have one suggestion and request as you think about that: get involved.
I can’t think of a single thing that holds more promise for a rich college experience and a better, more sustainable world than joining with others to make a difference.
We all want to live lives that matter, and there is nothing like the feeling of meaning and accomplishment that comes from contributing to something bigger than ourselves. On top of that, everyone I know who has joined with others to be of service to a greater good feels like they have gained more than they have given. Invariably, people talk about what they have learned, the relationships they have developed, the sense of empowerment they have realized, and a deeper sense of wholeness they feel within.
Find an issue, an organization, an idea that energizes you. Join with others who share your interest – chances are you will find a university or community group already in place – and jump in.
There is so much need and so much opportunity to contribute in so many ways and at every scale. Pick a topic: hunger, poverty, education, animal welfare, making music and other artistic expression, clean water, good government, green buildings, gender equity, renewable energy, living wages, an inclusive economy, fairness and justice for all, ecosystem viability, mental health… the list is almost endless.
Make no mistake: we all have talents and abilities to offer. As an old Japanese proverb says, “None of us is as smart as all of us,” so what you bring to a group effort enriches and enlarges it. And group efforts are synergistic: the whole of a group’s efforts are greater than the sum of its individual members.
So pick something of interest and jump in. Our world needs you!
Mike Kensler, Director
Office of Sustainability