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Cultivating Thankfulness

Tis the season for Thankfulness! The staff of the sustainability office reflects on what they are thankful for over this past year.

This is a time of year where we in the Sustainability Office take a deep breath and look around for a moment. After the hustle and bustle of the fall term, the halls are empty and our office feels quiet. We take stock and reflect on the year so far. This coincides with the "Thanksgiving Holiday" which, despite it's dubious origin, at it's best reminds us to consciously express our gratitude for the good things in our lives.

This year, I have more than usual to be thankful for at home. I am thankful for my amazing family and our health. I am thankful for the food on our table and am deeply thankful for the chance to realize a life long dream of moving to a farm. We spent much of the holiday exploring the woods on long rambling walks and marveling at the unimpeded, star-filled sky.

By far, the thing I am most grateful for in our work life is the people. Our colleagues are amazing; from FO&M to Planning, Design and Construction, the Provosts Office to the Finance Center, people all around the college have worked to support sustainability efforts in ways large and small. These secret eco-heroes have shown us the ropes, made our projects successful and made it all much more fun.

Being a part of the sustainability team is a great honor. Our merry little crew is something I am grateful for every day: Each person eagerly jumps in to help each other, sees their projects through and works hard to further our mission every day. And we have delicious baked goods.....

And most of all, the students we work with are amazing. Hands down, the thing I am most grateful for is the students we work with each day. I hop out of bed every morning excited to come to work because our "kids" are so fun to be around, so smart, so committed. They challenge us every day to be better, do more and get real stuff done and I love that. And I absolutely love the idea of the impact our students will have on the world. I am incredibly grateful, every day, for that.

Director of Sustainability, Rosi Kerr '97

As a farmer, November always brings a sense of reflection. The weather is getting colder, the fields are hibernating, and things are buttoned up for winter. What a wonderful time to be thankful! This year, I am particularly thankful for all of the passionate and dedicated students who really make the Dartmouth Organic Farm and Sustainability Office such a fun place to be. They always inspire me to learn new things and their positivity and joyfulness at the farm gives me hope for the future! Here are a few other things that have brought joy to my life this last year, for which I am thankful: meals in a pie crust, wooly socks, front porches, John Oliver, bees, supportive coworkers, a loving family, Harry Potter, maple trees, cordless drills, rocks in the forest, and wood stoves.

Wishing everyone a happy and restful Thanksgiving!

Sustainability and Farm Program Manager, Laura Braasch

My senior fall (what!) has been a whirlwind of a term, filled with so many joyful moments alongside so many hours of reflection and solemnity. It seems as though we’ve seen tragedy and violence in the national news more frequently than usual these past few months. I’ve appreciated the sustainability community and the staff team for creating space to share in distress, to think about these events, and to foster encouragement for hope and positivity. I’m thankful for everyone who has shown me how to reflect and process while remaining steadfast and bold. I hope that I’ve been able to offer the same.

Sustainable Dartmouth Intern, Alex Sclafani '18

My gratitude embraces family, friends, coworkers, and academic colleagues who help me learn and grow. These individuals go forth to make the world a better place each day, challenging the status quo and demonstrating what it means to live from a place of humility, kindness, and love. I am also thankful for landscapes that are well cared for and thrive so we may enjoy their endless beauty.

Madison Sabol '18

2017 has been a year to remember and I have a lot to be thankful for this Holiday Season. Graduation was a proud moment for me and my family. I’m thankful for all the kind people who helped me along my way: my family, my professors and other mentors, the Sustainability community, and all my friends made at Dartmouth. The transition from student to professional has shown me I will always be learning. When I suffered some nasty injuries mountain biking this summer, I learned an important lesson about personal sustainability. I’ve always been active and independent. Taking a summer off to mend broken bones was a challenge. I’m thankful for the love and support of my community to help me get through it. The experience proved to me how dependent I am on others, and showed me how lucky I am to have Dartmouth as a home. I’m proud to be part of this community and I try each day to pay my experience forward. I’m thankful to be working with people who encourage me to try new ideas, introduce me to new experiences, and (literally) catch me when I fall!

Sustainability Fellow, Joe Fairbanks '17

Much like the general atmosphere in our nation, Fall 2017 has been a tumultuous time. However, just like when reading the news, it is so much better to focus on the good than the bad! This fall I am incredibly grateful for my wonderful and supportive co-workers in the Office of Sustainability. I had to take some time off to recover from surgery and while I was gone, they graciously took over all of my tasks and made me feel relaxed and comfortable during my recovery. I am grateful for the mornings over the summer I got to spend out at the Organic Farm, cutting flowers and making bouquets. I am grateful for the many delicious pastries provided for us at staff meeting, the laughs over a drink after intern dinner and the hugs when times were tough. Although my time in the Dartmouth Sustainability Office is drawing to a much too soon close, the time I have spent here has been some of the happiest in my professional life. I am forever grateful to this office and these amazing people for guiding me and supporting me, giving me space to grow and a cushion when I fall. I don’t know yet what life has in store next, but I know, given the great team behind me of friends, it will be something marvelous indeed.

Sustainability Fellow, Molly Smith

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