Intern at Environmental Center examines the benefits interdisciplinary cooperation

The greenhouse as it currently resides.

The greenhouse as it currently resides.

By Steven Cooper, EC intern

As a non-traditional student here at Fort Lewis College, I can see where an interdisciplinary Environmental Center (EC) would greatly benefit not only the college but also the students.

As an example, I am tasked this semester with building a four-season greenhouse so we can start producing our own greens and herbs on campus. The main challenge I have found is the lack of diversity regarding academic disciplines here at the Environmental Center. Engaging a multitude of students at the EC would not only be beneficial for the long-term success of the EC but to the students, as well.

We just had a career fair, did we not? And how many of those mock-interviews did you participate in? How many of those jobs did you feel fully qualified for, knowing that you may have to build your resume a little more before you are considered “hiring material”?

From my experience, I have noticed that interdisciplinary cooperation is a lifelong skill that we need to be promoting here at Fort Lewis. Garnering a broad skill-set makes you more hire-able – to be able to tell your interviewer or boss or business partner or employees that you have these skills is a necessity in today’s modern business world.

In order to finish that project for the city, you’ll need to be able to talk to the mayor, the city council and the city planning committee. All of these people have diverse backgrounds – all of these people have created skills to get them where they are today. As an FLC student, you need to be able to say that you can approach all of these different people and make sure that your project is a success.  This is only actualized through the ability to work at a higher interdisciplinary level. At the EC, we can help create those skills. We have the venue, but we just need the people.

We’re all here to better ourselves.

We’re all here to better our minds and our life long goals.

We’re all here to make the best of this experience that we can.  So, let’s start by coming together to make the EC not only a training ground for our own personal goals but to create an atmosphere of cooperation and knowledge for future generations.

To the professors – can’t you see the benefit of having your students think a little more broadly? Can’t you see the benefit of having your students feel a little more confident in their educational pursuit? Can’t you see that engaging them in a community-minded center that you’d be helping to set them up for long-term success?

Students – let’s become a part of a bigger community. Let’s prepare ourselves a little bit more for that world “out there”. Let’s come together, expand our horizons and start focusing on something a little bit more than just our degrees.

     I feel that if we all start getting involved in an interdisciplinary approach, the Environmental Center and Fort Lewis would lay the groundwork for a more successful and supportive college environment.