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Sunday, April 02, 2023

UF Sustainability interns to present work at US conference

Two UF students will present their work at a national sustainability conference in front of more than 1,000 students Sunday.

Sustainability studies senior Alex Ahrenholz and environmental engineering senior Camille Mekwinski will present at the student summit portion of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2014 Convention & Expo in Portland, Oregon.

Allison Vitt, outreach and communications coordinator for the UF Office of Sustainability, wrote in an email that the Office of Sustainability is proud of the two 21-year-old office interns. 

“This is a very big deal to have our students accepted to facilitate a workshop,” Vitt said.

“There are only a few students selected from all the abstract submissions, and to have our very own UF student interns represented at the premier national conference for sustainability in higher ed is something we’re very proud of,” she added.

The students will present a one-hour workshop titled “A Hut Trend: Student to student engagement enabling sustainability,” which will be one of only four workshops presented at the convention.

The workshop will include activities, games and prizes for students attending the conference. 

The workshop will teach student leaders how to foster peer-to-peer interactions, equip students with tools for creating commitment to sustainability among members and talk about ways in which new, sustainable social norms may be developed.

“It’s exciting for the university to be present in kind of a bigger format than just like a small poster board,” Ahrenholz said.

Ahrenholz and Mekwinski’s workshop will be based on their work at the Office of Sustainability’s sustainability hut, a mobile, solar-paneled contraption used to teach students on campus about how to live environmentally friendly lives.

 Mekwinski and Ahrenholz work for the Office of Sustainability to promote ecological living to students on campus.

“We’re just teaching people that (interaction) is a better way to inform people about sustainability and sustainability principles than just information-based campaigns,” Ahrenholz said.

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Mekwinksi said she is excited to be showcasing a workshop at the conference in front of her peers. 

Tyler Burkett, a UF chemical engineering junior, has visited the on-campus sustainability hut and participated in the activities that Ahrenholz and Mekwinski will be displaying Sunday.    

“I thought it was really interesting,” Burkett, 20, said.

Burkett said she thinks the hut is important to inform students about sustainability. 

 “We can always do more,” he said.

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 10/22/2014]

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