EcoFellows Develop Skills at Bard College C2C Conference
The Bard College C2C program offers weekend skills-based workshops for recent graduates and current college students. Upon completion of the conference, every participant joins a C2C Fellows network, which now has over 500 members. As part of the EcoFellowship program, CET provides Fellows with the opportunity to attend conferences for professional development. Earlier this month, two of the current EcoFellows, Natasha and Becky, chose to attend the Bard College C2C Conference. Natasha and Becky discuss their personal experiences and conference takeaways below. Also, check out last year’s fellows’ blog to learn more about the program and day-to-day schedule of events. It’s a great opportunity for EcoFellows to attend this conference year after year!
I have always been interested in the environmental field, and after having spent many years pursuing this goal I became a little lost as to the reason why. At this conference, we were taught to hone in on a vision. In a storytelling exercise, we were encouraged to develop a story to explain how our interest in the environment was first formed. Through writing a story about my personal experience and getting a chance to workshop and share it with conference participants, I understood my career goals more clearly. After growing up in Indonesia and moving here to the U.S., I noticed how different the effects of climate change are felt in various parts of the world. Some experiences I had in Asia were so different than what people experienced here. With that in mind, I know I want to enter the environmental field not only to help climate change mitigation efforts, but also to make environmentally positive actions more accessible to all communities.
In addition to the storytelling exercise, I also really enjoyed getting the chance to network with like-minded emerging and potential environmental professionals. Attending the conference and meeting people who are interested in different aspects of the environment, like policy, business, or education, allowed me to explore an interdisciplinary view of sustainability issues. The conference overall really helped me solidify the reasons why I want to enter the environmental field, and introduced me to a whole network of people who I can work with to get there.
I enjoyed the Bard C2C conference event for a number of different reasons. First, the workshops really pushed me outside of my comfort zone (in a good way)! Right upon arriving, all the participants had to present a one-minute pitch about an environmental passion, project, idea, or business proposal. There was an added challenge as we had a very short time to both create and present a creative environmental idea in a convincing and compelling manner. Since I studied both music (viola) and environmental studies in college, I decided to combine these two passions into a business initiative. I titled my pitch “Musicians for the Environment”, which I explained as an initiative for musicians to advocate for environmental actions. For me personally, it is easier to present my ideas in writing. Learning how to communicate creative concepts verbally to a large audience is something I’m working on, and a great skill for me to practice and improve upon at the conference.
Like Natasha, I also enjoyed the storytelling exercise. It was inspiring to hear how people first got interested in the environmental field, and amazing to hear how different the stories were, as well as the methods of storytelling. Participants really opened up about their lives, discussing their upbringings, close family and friend relationships, life accomplishments, hardships, and the reason they are where they are today. I gained so much out of this workshop due to the personal and emotional aspects of it. All in all, it was wonderful not only attending the workshops and talks, but also meeting all the other people at the conference and hearing about their pathways in the sustainability field. It opened my mind up to the many different avenues there are, and that any goal or idea can be achieved if you put your mind to it and come up with the right steps to reach it!
By: Natasha Nurjadin and Becky Kalish, EcoFellows Class of ’19