RealJobs: Katherine Walsh

Thursday started with a walk-through of the event space for our April 19th CACS Sustainability Summit. It was a worthwhile meeting because we were able to visualize and plan our event set-up, catering, and A/V services… and found out about some campus services we were going to need to hire, something we didn’t know before the meeting… ran back to the office and took care of that! Definitely a productive meeting.

After the walk-through, I spent some of the day writing updates on our projects for the TGIF blog and was able to get seven done and upload the postings on an automatic posting schedule. I like having that option on our blog, because I can write a bunch at one time, load them, and the program will post them automatically based on the times I select. The TGIF Changents blog is available for anyone to view, but it is mostly directed at non-UC Berkeley affiliated audiences, just another way can publicize TGIF’s accomplishments and challenges internationally. If you get a chance, you should check out Changents. I think BC students would really enjoy this website because of all the incredible social justice Changents members of completing. If you are working on your own projects, I suggest you set-up a profile because it’s a great way to publicize your project, get feedback and support, and put out a call for volunteers if you need them! I was introduced to Changents in 2009, when I was working on an environmental proposal for the city of Boston’s D2E contest. The second round required us to set-up a profile and get backers for our proposal. When I got to UC Berkeley and was looking for another way to publicize TGIF’s projects, I remembered Changents and it has proved a great platform for TGIF. Thanks to our Marketing Department, we were even able to connect the blog to our regular TGIF website, so you can see the latest blog posts scrolling on the website.

The rest of Thursday I spent meeting with potential grant applicants for this year’s grants cycle. The final deadline for abstract submissions is this Monday at 5pm. We received 23 for the first deadline in January, so it will be interesting to see if we receive more than 23 on Monday. In past years, TGIF has always received more on the second deadline, but 23 was such a high number for the early deadline, I am not sure what to expect! Maybe more applicants chose to submit early this year and we will receive less on Monday? Meeting with potential applicants is one of my favorite parts of the job. I get to “talk shop” with the applicants about their sustainability ideas for the campus and try to give them guidance on their submission based on the TGIF  by-laws and my predictions about the TGIF Committee’s decisions. Throughout the year, I get a lot of requests to meet individually, but I also set-up formal abstract writing sessions and application trainings in order to walk potential applicants through the application process. Sometimes I meet with individuals who have fantastic ideas for the campus, but whose goals or methods don’t meet the requirements of TGIF. In those cases, I do my best to make recommendations for other campus programs or grants and try to help connect them with the right people. The main goal is to provide the best service, and hopefully they will be encouraged to work with TGIF again in the future and not give up on their ideas.

When work ended, I went to my first class for my Leadership in Sustainability and Environmental Management certificate program. The class is entitled “Managing Sustainable Change in an Organization”, and runs for 5 Thursdays, 3 hours each class. The first class was wonderful and I can already tell I am going to get a lot of practical skills and ideas to implement at work. I will start a second class in May, which will also run for 5 Thursdays, 3 hours each class, entitled “Sustainability Leadership: Strategies and Paradigms.” To complete the LSEM certificate, I will need to take a total of six class, 4 requirements and 2 electives. When I first started tossing around the idea of taking some classes, I had to think a lot about the value of my time and money. There are so many graduate, certificate, and accreditation programs available in sustainability and you want to ensure you are getting a good education for the time and money. The things that convinced me to sign-up for this particular program are all six classes count for actual semester units towards graduate school (should I go someday), and the classes are covering topics that I run into at work. In some fields, new accreditations are all you need (or required) to keep moving up the ladder, but if graduate school is where you are eventually headed anyway, you may want to save your money and time for that, rather than use them on multiple certificates. In the meantime, keep up your environmental reading! Last night’s class was a good reminder about all the incredible books I have on my shelf and have been meaning to read (may need to quit Netflix!), and gave me some new titles check out. After 4 years, it feels great to be back in school.

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