Ending on a Sustainable Note

Energy Corps

Read about Emily Caponi’s thoughts as her term of service comes to an end:

With a little over a month left in my service term, I feel like my life has entered warp-speed. Phone calls, presentations and putting together materials to be prepared for every interaction are what is keeping me on my toes. Like most Energy Corps members approaching their final month of service, I am in complete denial that my term is about to come to a close. All of my projects are only just about to reach their peak; the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference is just around the corner; I am slated to give a whirlwind amount of energy education presentations in the next month, and I am finally pulling together my research on business plans to help the National Center for Appropriate Technology to make its trainings a viable part of its service offerings.

Looking back at the middle of my term, my projects were far easier to compartmentalize. I would focus my work on one, then set it aside and move on to the next. The component of my service term that was most difficult for me to address was that of energy education. I remember the struggle to narrow the topic for my energy education presentations, and the time it took early on to figure out what I could possibly have to tell people. Now that I am at the end of my term, the answer seems easy. During my term, I listened at numerous community meetings pertaining to revitalization initiatives, as well as had the opportunity to learn and receive training in a broad area of energy related topics. At the end, I feel I have reached a synchrony and a balance between my projects, and when that clicked the topic of my presentation practically revealed itself to me: sustainability!

Before I reached the subject of sustainability, I was unsure what to share with people because I was unsure of what would be most relevant to them. How could I possibly get people to understand a sustainability initiative in just one presentation? If anything, my time with AmeriCorps has taught me not to get lost in the details though. It was a complete epiphany when I realized my strategy should be to reach people with the bigger picture; that communication is most efficient and effective that way.

emilycAnd really, that was a lesson in personal sustainability too.  In school I learned that sustainability is a process, not some lofty end goal. In my presentation materials, I like to share the definition that sustainability is “development that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to do so.” I have no doubt that Energy Corps has been an instrumental phase of my own development and that my experiences with it will continue to benefit me down the road. That process of acting purposefully now, so as to add value to the future, is something I feel passionate about and have realized I can share with others in a meaningful way.

emilyc bio picEmily Caponi earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies in 2013 after just three years at the University of Montana. During that time she completed an internship at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC as well as lived and worked at the University of Montana Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology during her final year. During her term of service, Emily will be providing hands-on energy efficiency and alternative energy assistance, education and outreach to underserved Montana communities. She will also form energy action networks to develop sustainable strategic energy plans.

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