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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A student voice

Garrett is a freshman who we met during the summer orientation. He loves SUSTAIN and has been helping us recruit. He and I were asked to contribute some information for an article in the Mustang Daily (our school newspaper). I thought you might want to hear directly form him about his experience.

my name is Garrett Schwanke and I'm a first year mechanical engineer.

1) I come from a high school that put a strong emphasis on group learning which had obvious benefits for me and my classmates. Apart from this program making me feel at home with group work, I want to see more students succeed from teaching and being taught by their peers.

2) In our meetings I've tried to serve as the freshman voice, sharing fears, questions and interests that I hear from my classmates with the Sustain team. Besides that, yesterday I presented to a class of 25 freshmen, informing them about the program and events we are holding (this happened to be coms class and they probably criticized the shit out of my speech). And sometimes I can actually offer an idea that we end up implementing, like formats for learning what classes freshmen want to take with us, or revisions to an email that gets sent to a few hundred mustangs.

3) I've already gained some invaluable connections with professors and team members, and I've learned a load about problem solving at team meetings. But I expect to improve my speaking skills, Improve my leadership, construct something that will have a lasting effect in SLO, network more, and build a resume.

4) I am most excited about the idea that our students can use their skills and expertise for more than just busy work on tests, but rather use them to benefit the community. Our brains are more valuable than we give ourselves credit for..Usually.

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