Today was our first day of class at UChicago. I woke up before my alarm clock again so I’m guessing that I was very anxious. I went to the bathroom to get ready and then I went down to the dining commons to have breakfast with my cohort. I’m extremely lucky that my class is only about a five minute walk from my dorm so I had a lot of time to kill. I was really paranoid and I was worried that I would be late so I came to class early with my friend Beatrice.
|My Classroom Building|
Our professor’s name is Aleen Bayard. She gave us permission to be informal and said we could call her Aleen. She is a Stanford and Columbia graduate who has been teaching Getting to Green: The Business Case for Sustainability, the class that I’m taking, for the past four years. One if the first thing that she said was that since we were a sustainability class, we were going to practice what we preach so we are going paperless for this entire course. She also practices what she preached and she lives a sustainable lifestyle by not eating red meat and by recycling. I really like her style of teaching because she uses a lecture style but we are free to interrupt her in the middle anytime to ask any questions and to see if she can clarify things for us. Her goal is for this to be an open discussion class so we can just share our ideas while we learn from asking questions.
The first thing that we did when we got to class was make nametags for ourselves so Aleen could remember all our names. We did a sort of icebreaker where we told everyone stuff about us like why we want to take this course and how we define “green.” Our class is really small but diverse at the same time. Most of the kids are from China and Brazil. We have one girl from Mexico and another girl who is from Switzerland. Once we got introductions done we went over the syllabus and class expectations. We have three field trips planned and a lot of guest speakers coming in to talk to us. There aren’t a lot of tests for the class; we will mostly be doing projects, group work, and a lot of reading. We had an assignment that we had to do during our lunch break. We had to read and have an opinion about three reading materials with 10, 16, and 3 pages. I got through what I could and luckily there wasn’t a surprise quiz on what we were supposed to read.
We spent the bulk of the day talking about sustainability. We watched a video on different people trying to define it and giving their input on it. Sustainability is extremely hard to define and everyone tends to interpret it differently. We looked at the current definition and we found that it also has some holes in it. The definition was very vague and while it was able to cover some things, it didn’t bring attention to other things. We spent the latter part of the afternoon discussing the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line, or 3BL, is a way for a company to measure its profit, its people, and how it’s been doing environmentally. We had different companies as examples so we could sort of get an idea of the different ways which it is presented. The goal by the end of this course is that we are able to make an educated decision about whether we agree that the 3BL is a good idea and that it works or now.
A challenge that I will face with this course is planning my time effectively. The homework that we have to do is mostly reading and from the looks of it, most if not all of them are over ten pages. I want to be able to understand what I’m reading fully and that will take extra time I also have blogging and getting enough sleep to worry about. Almost everyone that I’ve met on this trip told me about the importance of time management and taking care of your body. I didn’t understand the severity of their words until now. It’s almost easy to want to stay up all night doing my blog or reading and skipping meals just to get extra work done but that isn’t healthy and it will catch up to me eventually. Hopefully I can take some of the advice that was given to me about finding the right balance between taking care of yourself, school, and a maintaining a social life.