A few months ago, about halfway through our Spring semester, Denice arranged one of her famous team building exercises during one of our classes. For this exercise, each person picked from a handful of quotes and sayings and related the chosen phrase to something that had to do with our class. Truthfully, all that I remember about my choice is that it had something to do with teamwork, but what stuck with me much longer was the follow-on question that Denice asked. She said, “Are we a team yet?” I answered yes, and explained that we are all in this class for a common purpose that stretches far beyond a simple educational goal (or something like that). I knew that this common passion is what brought us together, but it was not until August 8th that I truly recognized the magnitude of this passion.
On this, our seventh full day in Juneau, we were almost finished with our field work. Our research was done, but the learning never stopped as we toured a local hydro-electrical plant and the Treadwell mine close by. Afterward, we picnicked at a small beach near the mine and followed that with a few hours in downtown Juneau. With this being the last opportunity for many of us to spend time in the city, a few of us took advantage by eating at Pel’ Meni, a unique Russian restaurant that served the best dumplings I’ve ever had. Others relaxed in a local coffee shop while the rest strolled about the downtown area, soaking it in one last time.
Back in the lodge after another delicious dinner, Denice proposed another team building/ brainstorm session. This time, we went around the room, each discussing his or her individual digital story idea. I didn’t expect much going into it, to be honest; I knew my topic but thought that there would be a few people who were unsure what to discuss. What followed was the perfect display of our group working as a team.
Almost every individual had a wonderfully unique idea for their digital story, nearly all of them concerning climate change and the role that it plays in our lives, as well as how we can mitigate, educate, and adapt to these changes. Throughout the two-hour long brainstorm s
ession, we all came together to expand on our ideas, constantly asking questions to further discussion, offering advice, and giving quality suggestions.
Sitting at that table, I realized how much passion every one of us has for this subject and that each one of us strives to be the change that we wish to see in the world. CAUSE may technically stand for Center for Advanced Undergraduate Study and Experience, but to us, it means so much more.