Nov 102016

During Community Food Initiatives’ Donation Station distribution on Friday October 28, I got to unexpectedly speak with Constantine. We began talking about my residency at Ohio University’s eco house. The eco house is part of the sustainability department of Ohio University. The house itself is a tool to guide one’s lifestyle towards sustainability, along with the tools provided within the home to further minimize one’s human footprint. The house is unique because it is a class credited opportunity for the tenants to develop a project within the home that aligns with that individual’s personal and/or professional interests. Constantine shared with me that he and Kathy were part of the development of the eco house project.

I was excited to have two individuals to thank for their investment in the eco house project because living in the home has amplified a lot of joy and understanding in my life. Thinking back to when I had moved in, I felt a lot of history in the home because of the homeliness of the house and also a lot of resources left behind by past tenants. Most of these resources include books, cooking utensils, self care quotes, and recipes for chemical free housework. Other than these resources, the rest of the history of the home is a bit of a mystery to me. This mysterious factor is bittersweet because it adds a charm to my experience but I am also highly interested on the history of the home and the different eco house experiences that have occurred since its establishment.

Constantine shared in my curiosity and we decided that it would be a beneficial project to organize documentation of experiences, projects, pitfalls, successes, questions, and resilient activity of the home’s tenants. I think this history is important because the eco house is an opportunity to change one’s living patterns in order to align with the Earth’s best interests. Mindfulness of what makes a home, environment, or a tenant resilient through a process of sustainability can help establish better ways to communicate vitality in sustainability. This project would involve me partnering up with another motivated individual who shares an interest in this work. We thought that a history student would be a good place to start.

I asked Constantine what he thought would be a good incentive for a history student to work with me. Constantine then guided me to think outside the box by asking me what would be a good incentive for myself to invest in this project. This is a resourceful way to look because it would require me to use what I already know, which is how I feel from a macro social work student perspective. I asked myself questions like:

What initially struck my interest with this project?

Why does this project involve me?

How does this project make me feel?

What am I learning?

What do I want to learn?

What does this project mean to me?

What do I already know about teamwork?

I do not want to get caught up with the question, “What is a good incentive for a history major?” because the answer to that specific question would most likely guide me to learn more about a history major and the differences between me and that history major. If this thought process were to occur, then I have been guided away from my initial mission. This situation would place me on the line of ‘mission creep’, which is a common flaw in grant writing that I would prefer to address in a separate post.

This conversation inspired me to first continue with my eco house documentation project with a partner. I have not found a partner yet but being a current tenant keeps me motivated on a very applicable level. I also feel more confident in my ability to lead in motivating others to take an interest and act in, not only my project, but any project aimed at grassroots and understanding how something works. I am hoping to embrace the history recollection of my home, along with taking further steps to improve my writing abilities and having mindfulness of systems thinking in everything I work on. I want my writing abilities and thinking processes to help a future project of mine in altering the grant writing process in order to avoid mission creep. Along with grant writing purposes, I would like my writing to portray motivational attributes for taking leadership in whatever one may do.

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