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End-of-year reflections from MN Greencorps member, Aaryn Wilson

2018-2019 was Augsburg’s second year hosting a MN Greencorps member in the Sabo Center. These positions have brought new perspectives and learning to us through the incredible young people who serve and have expanded Augsburg’s community as they go out into other professional experiences, taking what they’ve learned and who they’ve met here with them. We will especially miss Aaryn’s thoughtfulness around complex sustainability topics and ability to see areas for improvement with our waste systems.

students and staff perform waste audit
MN Greencorps member, Aaryn Wilson (left), finishes a waste audit with student intern Reiss Williams and graduate fellow Blongsha Hang

Hi, my name is Aaryn Wilson and this past year I served as Augsburg’s Minnesota GreenCorps member. The Minnesota GreenCorps program is affiliated with AmeriCorps. The program places AmeriCorps members with host organizations around the state to assist communities and local governments in addressing a variety of statewide needs, aiming to:

  • Reduce solid waste and increase recycling in Minnesota communities.
  • Reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and other air pollutants.
  • Reduce water runoff and improve water quality.
  • Assist community members to take eco-friendly actions.
  • Increase community resilience and build local capacity to respond to the threats of climate change.
  • Train new environmental professionals.

During my time at Augsburg I mainly focused on reducing solid waste and increasing recycling efforts already in place. To do this I had a lot of help from the Environmental Stewardship interns, staff, faculty, and students on campus. Some highlights from the year include:

  • Showed the film Wasted! The Story of Food Waste in the fall semester of 2018.
  • Conducted three waste audits on 12/10/2018, 1/31/2019, and 8/6/2019. To learn about two of the waste audit’s we did feel free to read this article written by the Echo.
  • During the month of March, I participated in Nexuses Tapping the Potential of Community Engagement series. After the workshops I would share what I learned with students and staff at Augsburg.
  • Performed a number of waste sorts at the Commons just by simply standing near the three bin system and directing people as they through away their waste.
  • With our two Step-Up interns we waste mapped the three bin systems around campus. We noted where there were bins missing and were more could be added. This was done over the months of June and July. Overall only a couple areas on campus could be modified for more effective bin placement. Contact Allyson Green for full report.
  • Participated in a training with A’viands staff on 1/11/2019 to teach them how to do waste sorting, organic recycling, recycling, and trash correctly.
  • Led a training with Staff Senate folks about waste reduction on 12/19/2018
  • Led a training with Residence Life (RAs) about waste reduction on 1/7/2019
  • Conducted one-to-one meetings with students, staff, a custodian, and another volunteer member serving at Augsburg.

Overall my most memorable experiences from my service year was doing the waste audits along with having conversations with people about what they thought belonged in or didn’t belong in the organics, recycling, and trash receptacles. I had a great experience overall and will miss the awesome faculty, staff, and students here at Augsburg the most. Thank You for allowing me to serve.