What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 09/25/15



Here's what is going on in my world this week:

This one is pretty much a give in, since it is a pretty big deal for me. I announced my first eBook (available now on Kindle, NOOK, or iBooks) yesterday and I am really happy with the support it has garnered so far. If you've ever wanted to help support the site keep the lights on (and grow into something more), please either check the book out or help share it out to others who might be interested. There are more cool things to come for the site before the year is done, so stay tuned!

My partner and I are going to this local event here in Maine after hearing a lot about it from people around here. It's a big annual gathering of folks celebrating the farming culture of the state. We're looking forward to taking in the everything, having some good food, and enjoying a beautiful day together!

I mentioned these cool reusable utensils in my most recent book review, but I just ordered myself a set. I'm excited to have this solid set of tools to help me consume less in my daily life. I feel like I always knew I needed something like this but I never knew what to look for exactly. This is a perfect way to use something sustainably made to achieve a goal for consuming and wasting less plastic. A win all around!

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What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 05/01/15


Good day to you!

Here's what is going on in my world this week:

  • Seinfeld

I love the show Seinfeld. It is a classic television sitcom that stands the test of time. As such, I was pretty excited when it was announced that Hulu will be bringing the complete series to their streaming service beginning in June. I feel like I still haven't seen every episode so I definitely plan to slowly burn through them all to relive my favorite moments and appreciate the series as a whole. If you haven't seen the show before, definitely check it out on Hulu when it's released.

  • Summer!

The end of my first academic year as a full-time professional is drawing close, and as such, I've been thinking about how I want to spend my summer. I'm sure it will be a mixture of work and fun (as I tend to like for my down time) but I want to take in all that I can while I have the opportunity here in Maine. That means trying to venture out to Canada, seeing more of New England, and continuing to appreciate the local offerings here in Maine as well. I hope I can get to it all while also planning and preparing for the next academic year. I have high hopes but I believe I can do it!

  • Sustainability

I've been working with our campus-wide sustainability committee here at my institution, and it made think about how we make change happen at a institutional level. My perspective on it is that it really can be difficult and time intensive, which needs to be acknowledged, but the efforts of committees like ours need to be strongly supported in more than just lip service and pats on the back to make us all feel good. We need broad support and we need financial support to make things happen. We can do a lot with changing behaviors to make a difference, but for sweeping, lasting change, we need to reform a lot of infrastructure, which costs money. While making sustainable changes gives the opportunity for a return on investment, the initial cost needs to be made, and I feel stifled by that concept most times. I also am impatient and have a sense of urgency for fixing the problems that surround us everyday (that I feel may not be shared by others at times). These are just some stream of consciousness thoughts I've had after going to these meetings for a few months.  We have just started this work on our campus, and we feel very far behind already, and then it feels like we can only move at a snail's pace. It's frustrating but I know you have to start somewhere, so I'll do my best to be patient for now.

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What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 02/20/15


Greetings! Here's what is going on in my world this week:

  • Relationships

I had a thought about this during the week, and I mean relationships in a very broad sense, such as a relationship with an office or an institution rather than personal friendships. The thought came to me during a call with a parent of a student. I got push back on trying to help them in their unique situation and felt that we should have sucked up the cost of the room change we were making for the student and save the relationship with this parent. We can afford it more often than not, this family couldn't in this case. I felt we should have done the right thing (in my opinion) and just defrayed the cost, but that was not supported by my colleagues. It got me frustrated and cemented a feeling I have about serving students and their families and the importance of the relationship we have with them.

I've been going to the Greendrinks meetup events since I moved to Maine in July of last year. They're a fun, social gathering centered around supporting sustainability in the community. I recently joined their executive board and since it is now official (check the contact page at the link above) I thought I'd share the good news. I'm excited to have this experience and help out this great organization in whatever way I can!

I had a call with the one of a kind Tom Krieglstein yesterday about some SAC stuff. It made me think back on my relationship with the site dating back to becoming a writer in the fall of 2013, then becoming an intern in the beginning of 2014, and then a member of the leadership team in the summer of 2014. It's been an awesome time continuing my bond to this amazing group and see how the site has grown just in the short time I've been along for the ride. The podcast (my baby) has seen some good growth itself lately, and it just is inspiring to see my commitment pay off. This year is looking to be a big one for the SAC, so stay tuned for continual awesomeness to come!

Thanks for stopping by!

How Higher Ed Is (Or Should Be) Like a Social Good Company

i-want-change I had an epiphany the other day while talking to my partner regarding a mental connection about higher education and social good companies (like TOMS, Warby Parker, Krochet Kids, FEED, and many others across the country). They share many of the same traits and goals but in some other very important ways, higher education is falling behind these organizations in realizing their place as a social institution meant to benefit the community it serves.

First off, the similarities between the two. Higher education institutions and social good companies both are making money in order to propel their missions. Colleges and universities are funding their endeavor to educate the citizens of tomorrow, while social good companies are selling a product to benefit their chosen cause. All the money (typically) goes toward that end goal. While they have to pay for personnel to fulfill and facilitate their operations, they put their profits to good work rather than just sitting on them. This is generally called a "double bottom line". A lot of major corporations are trending this way, with huge donations to various nonprofits or their transition toward supporting responsibly made products. There is a push toward this in the economy since a lot of people vote with their dollars in terms of buying products that align with their values. They won't buy something that isn't responsibly made and look for items that are sustainable, fair trade, organic, etc. Some companies and higher education institutions will even go as far to include the planet in their impact, abiding by a "triple bottom line". This entails all the possible impact organizations can have; profits, people, and planet. This is an even harder reality to embody but those companies that do are definitely leaving their communities far better than when they found them.

The differences begin in terms of the rates of adoption between social good companies and higher education institutions. A company like Krochet Kids was built recently from the ground up as an entity that kept their global impact in mind. Many colleges and universities have been around for decades (or centuries) with greatly varying missions and traditions. They could not have foreseen the need for globally conscious sustainability measures that are necessary now in the face of climate change. While some institutions have done well adapting, these venerable organizations just aren't as nimble when confronted with the dynamic nature of modern social need.


College students are more globally minded and connected than ever before. They understand the needs of their community and want to be engaged in doing social good and changing the world. They are eager to learn how and that is where student affairs professionals can come in. We can offer programs and opportunities to capitalize on this energy to create socially conscious leaders who understand the urgency of the problems facing the world and have the confidence to try to solve them.

Changemakers Logo

This was the original vision behind Rutgers Changemakers. I had the pleasure of working with this initiative when I was studying as a graduate student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. It was an amazing effort that I was proud and privileged to be a part of with some awesome student affairs colleagues, namely Krista Kohlmann among others.

I will be presenting on Rutgers Changemakers at ACPA 2015 with Krista. Our session is 1PM on Friday, March 6 in the Tampa Convention Center, Room 37. I hope to see some friendly faces there.

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Our Sustainable Waste Impact, By the Numbers

It can seem like a daunting tasks making any greater impact with our daily sustainable habits, but this infographic I found puts things in a pretty positive context. While we're not where we need to be by a long shot, we've done a lot in the past several years to make a good impact. With everyone doing their part to make their habits more green, we can get to a better future when it comes to energy, waste, and maintaining harmony with nature. This particular resource focuses mostly on trash, recycling, and re-purposing. I hope to continue highlight how what we do makes a positive difference in the world. It's incremental and aggregate, but I know we all can make an impact if we work together.

See the rest of the awesome infographic here.