By Avery Beck, Senior, Anthropology Major

Being away from home. Meeting new people. Spending late weekend nights roaming around downtown looking for parties. My freshman year at Chico State was basically everything I imagined college would be, based on the impression the movies I grew up watching gave me. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.

I came to Chico from my hometown of Eagle River, Alaska. When I got here I knew no one—I was alone. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t really alone, I met all kinds of new friends and acquaintances, but I still felt like I was kind of just floating here on my own. So, I decided to look for something larger to be a part of. That’s when I heard about the Sustainability Involvement Faire, which is basically an information session held every semester, where all of the sustainability focused groups on campus recruit interns and volunteers for the upcoming semester. I truthfully had no idea what sustainability was at that time, but I went anyway.

Little did I know that I would walk out of the involvement fair signed up for a 2-unit internship with E-ARC, the Environmental Action Resource Center. At first I was a little unsure what I had gotten myself into, but as I got more and more involved I became convinced I had made the right decision.

Avery standing with fellow E-ARC intern Taylor Kudell near his BYOCup poster at Eco-Fest 2010

I started off slowly, but as I began to learn what sustainability is and how important it really is I became increasingly involved. The more involved I got, the more people I started to meet. Most of the people I met in AS Sustainability are great, many of them becoming some of my best friends here in Chico. The more people I met, the more doors I could see opening for me. I was able to become a voting member on one of the student government councils, the Environmental Affairs Council. I got to work with the heads of the AS Bookstore and AS Dining Services on the Bring Your Own Cup campaign [which encourages customers to bring their own reusable cups to cafes and dining areas on campus for a small discount on their drink purchase]. I learned about writing funding requests, in successfully applying for funding for the BYOCup campaign from the Sustainability Fund Allocation Committee. Last but not least, after a year of being an intern, I got a great student job working for AS Recycling.

Thanks to my various internships with AS Sustainability I have had many opportunities that otherwise probably would have not been available to me, opportunities that I know have helped shape my Chico experience as well as my future.