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Here’s to a future of many Little Green Blogs

posted: 4.18.13 by Nedra Reynolds

A few months ago, a student I had never met, a writing minor, asked me if I would be the faculty sponsor for her Senior Project in the Honors Program this spring.  As usual, I hesitated about adding one more thing to the list, but I did read Alyssa’s proposal.  That gave me pause because she was planning to produce a blog about sustainability and green issues.  Like you, I’ve seen my share of bad blogs and don’t think the world needs more of them.  So we talked about it.  Did she understand what she was getting into?  Did she realize that a successful blog demands frequent updates?  Was she prepared for multi-modal composing?  She admitted to having a lot to learn, but she was also enrolling in a course, “Writing in Electronic Environments” and hoped that it would give her the tools and guidance she needed.

Then I shared my other big doubt:  aren’t college students and campus communities growing weary of green campaigns?  Are they really going to be receptive to yet another initiative to reduce, reuse and recycle?  Alyssa was undeterred.  Inspired by Colin Beavan’s visit to campus (his book No Impact Man was the common reading in Fall 2011), she was earnestly determined to try to make a difference.  She had also teamed up with another Honors’ program student who shared her interest in “all things green” and would be conducting a small experiment –she’s a Psychology major—around recycling habits as well as co-authoring the blog.  And there was more:  Alyssa and her partner received funding to sponsor a “Free Coffee with Travel Mug” Monday at a local “Bagelz.”  Anyone showing up on a Monday with their own mug would receive free coffee.  Part of their project has been publicizing that program and learning, along the way, about “incentivizing” participants.

Now their Senior Honors’ presentation is coming up, and I’m so impressed and pleased with the quality and variety of their work that I wanted to share it with Bits’ readers:  http://thegreengirls92.wordpress.com

As I look forward to hearing Alyssa and Maggie’s final presentation about their project, I’m thinking about ways to try to engage all learners (not just Honors’ students) in this kind of self-sponsored, self-motivated learning.  It seems too rare that students become truly motivated by something they read, and too unusual that they have such convictions!  It’s also good for me to realize that although my initial reaction to the proposal was lukewarm, to say the least, Alyssa’s determination and the 30+ blog entries—each of them quality work—has turned me right around.  It’s a cliché but a useful one:  we learn from our students as much or more as we teach them.

 

 

 

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