By Joseph Jerome Raymond ’24: Outreach & Engagement Fellow

Working for the Office of Sustainability this summer wasn't something I thought I would be doing. Hell, I didn’t even expect to be in Amherst. I was hoping to either be at home (working), or literally anywhere else (and I mean that). I haven’t been home since winter break and I won’t be going home until next winter break. So having to stay on campus for the summer felt like it was going to be a challenge.

That said, when I found out that I would be working as the Outreach & Engagement Fellow for the Office of Sustainability, I was really excited. Social media is an area that I have a lot of experience in, but the difference with the Office of Sustainability is that I would be working for a school-affiliated account, versus a brand or an individual. From a student perspective, I’ve seen how a lot of the school accounts are engaged with, and the interactions don’t seem to go past a like and scroll.

This is something I wanted to change for our Office of Sustainability’s Instagram.

This past spring ended a 3 year span of the office not having a director, and since we’re really starting to strengthen our networks on campus, I felt that our social media platforms should match. This meant creating content and opportunities that would engage students in a meaningful, yet casual way, straddling the line between serious and funny. It meant getting out into the community more. And it was A LOT of time behind the camera, trying to capture awesome, shareable moments.

A photo of two people at a cookout and two lines of people in a farm field.

I’ve had a lot of fun these past two months running our Instagram, from documenting trips and initiatives we work on, to choosing the most unknown minerals for the daily ‘mineral of the day’ quiz. It was nice to engage students in a way I would want to be engaged as a student.

One of the other things I loved about my summer with the office is that my work wasn’t limited to social media. Over the summer I also worked in collaboration with Grounds to complete applications to certify Amherst College Campus as a Morton Level 1 arboretum and Tree Campus USA partner. By drawing more attention to the nature of Amherst College, I hope this will inspire a lot more students to get out and explore. There’s a lot more than you think. The application will be submitted and processed in a few weeks (fingers crossed)!

I also designed two newsletters from scratch that will be delivered bi-weekly and monthly to students and alumni, respectively. For the student newsletter, I want to alert students of any and every opportunity they have to explore their passions in the local area. I’m hoping it will be a resource and the first step for many to get involved. For the alumni newsletter, I’m just excited to keep alumni in the loop and give them insight into what goes on in the Amherst ‘bubble’, maybe give them a way back into Amherst’s community.

While a lot of my work prioritized preparing the Office of Sustainability for events and programs that would take place after my internship ended, I enjoyed laying the groundwork for things that will benefit students like myself on campus. Working in a team environment is always an experience I appreciate and I’m glad I got to share space with the other two summer interns.

I want the Office of Sustainability to serve as a network for students to pursue any and all of their passions related to the environment. Whether I’m involved or not, I’m excited to see what comes of it in the future.

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