And so we’ve (almost) come to the end of the Fellowship! As Friday draws closer, it seems like there are more and more things to do and learn at the OEC. Last week was full of events both fun and professional. On Tuesday (8/6) a whole fleet of other interns and myself attended “A Dialogue on Climate Impacts and Opportunities in Ohio” panel at the Athletic Club downtown. This event was quite prestigious (former governor Ted Strickland gave opening remarks) and drew from a wide base of environmental advocates, including the Christian-based Interfaith Power & Light and the militarily minded Truman National Security Project. This event opened my eyes to how many lenses through which climate change can be viewed and combated, and I got to spend time with the OEC’s great intern family while doing so!
We also got to spend time together last Friday when the OEC very kindly hosted an office potluck to commemorate the end of the summer intern season. Although rain drove us inside, that didn’t stop some from playing a little bocce in the hallway! Everyone had a great time, although it was bittersweet to say goodbye to some good friends I’ve made over the last 8 weeks.
When I reflect on my time spent at the OEC this summer, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in such a short time. Although my projects were largely administrative in nature, they also required a vast amount of research into environmental practices, energies, and projects in order for me to fully grasp the importance of my work, and to learn the industry lingo! Now, I can tell a REC from a LEED certification, I know where the Public Utilities and Ohio Air Quality Development Authority offices are, and I could recommend the best real estate in Ohio for a solar panel production facility. And that’s just scratching the surface! I have always considered myself an environmentally conscious person, and now I have an intimate knowledge of what Ohio is doing as a state to help our environment – and let me tell you, it’s varied, complicated, and wonderful. In addition to expanding my practical knowledge base, working at the OEC has allowed me to meet and work alongside some of the most dedicated, brilliant environmental minds in the state. I will be sad to leave my little desk in the OEC office, but I will certainly be taking fond memories with me.