Hello! My name is Colin Higgins, and I participated in Summer of Solutions last summer with the Middleton, WI program called Growing Food and Sustainability. My initial motivation for participating in SoS was that it was a project based in the community where I grew up that was focused both at youth education (which I am passionate about) and sustainable agriculture (which I am also passionate about).
I think one of the main things that I took away is that I really enjoy teaching others, especially youth, about environmental issues and solutions. I also learned that all students have very unique motivations, interests and backgrounds that led them to our program, and I really enjoyed learning about those as well.
One of my all time favorite memories from last summer was seeing our campers come to posses so much understanding about sustainability by the end of the program. It was really cool to see them learn how all of the larger systems fit together, and how our program and sustainable agriculture generally help to address some of the problems created by the current industrial system.
At the moment, I am a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I study Geography, History, and Environmental Studies. I work for the student farm (FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture) and I chair the student government Sustainability Committee. Starting last fall, I also transitioned to the role of a program leader with the Middleton Local Initiative/SoS program.
The work that I did in SoS helped me to see all of the cool and different solutions and projects that people all across the country are working on. Not only did my involvement with the Middleton program prepare me to become a program leader this year, but the connections I made with other students and activists helped give me ideas that I have worked to implement in my endeavors on the UW-Madison campus. Particularly useful were some of the organizing skills that I gained, which helped me to create our student government’s Sustainability Committee.
Are you thinking about applying to participate in SoS in 2013? You should absolutely do it! It is such a good learning experience and is worth your time this summer. Who wouldn’t want to do world-changing work in local communities? It is also super fun!
– Colin Higgins
Calling all Solutionaries! The National Participant Application for all Summer of Solutions programs is now open!
During the Summer of Solutions, you will receive training in community organizing and sustainable community development techniques. You will use these skills to demonstrate the promise of energy efficiency, community-based energy, green industry, local food production, and/or smart design as described in the locations you choose. Beyond the concrete skills you learn, Summer of Solutions will be a really fun community-based experience. It is a great chance to grow with, learn from, and work with other incredible young people and community leaders who are building a better future.
Not sure if you should apply? Follow our new blog series, Alumni Spotlights, to hear from past Summer of Solutions participants about how their experience changed their life and prepared them for a life of solutionary work!
Now accepting participant applications: Arleta, CA; Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; Iowa City, IA; Ithaca, NY; Johnson City, TN; Lexington, KY; Little Rock, AR; Middleton, WI; Oakland, CA; Raleigh, NC; Southern West Virginia; Twin Cities, MN; and Washington, DC!
Applications for the final round are due on 4/14/2013. Some programs may keep their local applications open beyond 4/14, but there is no guarantee that any specific program will do so.
Find more details and the online application here!