Hello! My name is Nathaniel Cook, and I participated in Summer of Solutions in 2009. I became involved in SoS after having a discussion with Summer of Solutions leaders at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Forum at St. Olaf College. I left the conversation thinking that SoS would be an informative experience that would allow me to grow as a young, student leader while making real, substantive change in how we, as a society, approach environmental sustainability. The experience proved to exceed all of my expectations.
Through SoS, I developed the skills necessary to talk about sustainability-related issues with people from all walks of life, and gained the knowledge and confidence necessary to do so. Summer of Solutions also gave me a new, better-informed perspective on environmental and social issues that helped formulate my values. My favorite memory is working alongside students who exemplified what it meant to be well informed, proactive, and inspiring young leaders. Their mentorship empowered me to meet with community leaders and develop plans for collaboration. I was so inspired by my experience that when I returned to my college campus as a sophomore in the fall, I helped lead an environmental movement that changed the campus’ ethos and physical operations. By engaging our peers, we helped start the campus’ first student-led organic garden, an “eco-house” for student living, improved campus operations, and made sustainability one of the core focuses of the college and its curriculum. Continue reading