Seven Sustainability Studies Students Selected for CMC/NCS Internship

November 2015cmc1

Colorado Mountain College hired NCS  to coordinate a sustainability assessment. The goals of the project are to decrease the college’s carbon footprint and to promote sustainable practices at all of the college’s 11 locations through the development of a comprehensive sustainability action plan.
The two entities created a student internship program involving seven CMC students. This will create a learning opportunity that connects academia with real-world sustainable development work. Student interns from campuses in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Edwards and Steamboat Springs will analyze transportation, buildings and energy, campus and community engagement, and food, grounds and purchasing.

The internships are not only providing relevant experience for these student interns, but are contributing to NCS’s sustainability assessment and plan. For example, at the college’s Carbondale location, intern Patrick Gill is focusing his efforts on sustainable transportation. According to CMC internship coordinator Adrian Fielder, Gill, who’s working towards a bachelor’s degree in business administration, is conducting a case study using the ridership of the college’s shuttle bus to calculate its climate impact and the shuttle’s energy return on investment. He’s comparing his findings with a possible replacement – a new, technologically superior vehicle, while helping the CMC team to better integrate carbon tracking and measurement into the college’s impact assessment.

Energy and buildings is the focus of student Josh Kinzer’s internship. Kinzer is applying the solar installer certificate he earned at CMC to the bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies he’s working towards, giving him the knowledge he needs to pursue a career in energy policy. During his internship, Kinzer is helping with data collection of building resources, while working on onsite building audits and conducting a financial sustainability audit alongside the NCS study team.

The campus and community engagement internship is also known as the social sustainability internship. Mercedes Quesada-Embid, Ph.D., a CMC sustainability studies professor, is based at the college’s Edwards campus, which she said is already quite committed to sustainability initiatives. “The Edwards campus participated in Eagle County’s Actively Green certification process, a local sustainability initiative, and so is a step ahead with regard to data crunching around water use, recycling and visibility of sustainability,” she said. Quesada-Embid and NCS are also working with two interns, Nikki Katz and Matt Lewis, to help identify areas around sustainability and student engagement best practices, for example.

Sallie Holmes plans to receive her bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies with an emphasis in business in May 2016. As one of two NCS interns at Colorado Mountain College’s campus in Steamboat Springs, she finds her internship in food, grounds and purchasing ties directly to her degree. “So far, I have done research on grounds keeping across the campuses, including irrigation, fertilization, vegetation and pest and weed control,” she said. Holmes’ fellow intern, Olivia Goldsworthy, is focusing on food policy. Together, they’ll research purchasing. They have been working under the supervision of the Steamboat Springs campus’s Dr. Tina Evans, associate professor of sustainability studies; Rebecca Potter, professor of English; and Martyn Kingston, associate professor of business.

“CMC is proud to have its students working on this project, which has provided an incredible opportunity for them to be actively working with and learning from one of the world’s leading sustainable change agents, Natural Capitalism Solutions,” said Pete Waller, facilities director for the college and project manager.