A Hidden Gem of Fort Lewis College

By Kelkiyana Yazzie, Real Food Challenge Team

I would probably not have been involved with the Environmental Center if it wasn’t for a friend who told me about it during my first semester at FLC. (Thank you Adam! It amazes me now how many, but not a ton of people, utilize the EC and the amazing opportunities and experiences it offers.

I am a quiet and introverted person, so it was challenging for me to finally walk into the EC and start getting involved.
It turned out to not be as difficult as I thought it would be because Rachel and Alex, a former EC Assistant Coordinator, welcomed me with open arms.

I started out on the Zero Waste Team where I assisted fellow team members with grant writing and educational outreach activities promoting recycling in the residence halls. Our team worked hard to receive grant funding for recycling bins to be placed in every residence hall room on campus.
It was awesome to be part of a team dynamic that worked so well to where we won an award from the FLC Leadership Center for a project that effectively impacted the campus community.

I will never forget my first year at the EC because it positively impacted me so significantly that I started my own projects back home on the Navajo reservation. I helped write a grant to receive funding for a small recycling station at my local chapter house. I also co-founded an annual trash pickup day in my community that will go on its 4th year next summer.

During my third semester with the EC, I decided to try something new and joined the Real Food Challenge Team which I am still a part of today. At the EC, you don’t have to worry about doing something different because there are people there to help you fit in and make you feel comfortable and a valuable asset to a project and team.

The EC and its staff are truly one of the many gems that can be found on campus. I have never felt more welcome anywhere else at FLC due to the strong community based work environment that can be found here.

I have met many wonderful people whether they be student employees/volunteers, FLC faculty and staff, and members of the Durango community. I cherish the friends and connections I have made the past few years working in the EC. It’s nice to know that we are all fighting the same fight.

I always enjoy seeing many new faces at the EC each semester and hope the number of participants in EC projects and events grow. I am sure the EC will change their lives in a good way like it did for me.

I graduate in a few weeks and the EX will be one of the biggest things I will miss about my college experience. However, I am excited to join the EC alumni as an environmental leader in my community and the world.

Thank you for everything Fort Lewis College Environmental Center!