There are many facets to the Wolf River Conservancy internship, but above all, the people I have met throughout the process have made the most impact. Being an intern for WRC has introduced me to many determined, involved Memphians who truly believe in this city. With their drive, this city has begun to grow towards a better place unlike I have ever seen before. Now, that might be because I was younger and had not been introduced to all of this yet; however, I think positive steps are easily seen even to the inexperienced eye. These environmentally aware steps are why I am interning with WRC.
I am Nathan Outlan and I will be entering my junior year at the University of Tennessee as a double major in Supply Chain Management and Marketing with a minor in Sustainability. It has been said to major in something smart and minor in something you love. I would prefer that the rivers I fish, the mountains I hike and the sky I look up at to experience no damage. At the other end of the spectrum, I firmly believe in capitalism. So, the whole plan is to be able to look at a business setting through an environmentally aware lens. That is why I am starting with the “green” side of things and then learning about the Supply Chain/Marketing side of things. Doing it this way will enable me to approach business questions in the proper way. Why not go ahead and make the environmentally aware adjustments to the business instead of performing an environmentally hurtful action and then trying to fix it? Not only is the latter the wrong thing to do, it is also the more expensive one. The more I learn from organizations like WRC, the harder it is to understand why people do not push for green initiatives.
My focus with WRC is on the marketing side of things. Kelsey Hamilton has introduced me to my first hands-on experience when it comes to day-to-day marketing with an organization. I think this is a very smart way to start, because non-profits do not have the ability to throw money around. At the end of the day, it is all about being smart and effective with every step you take. I have worked on creating a media kit, educating those interested about WRC at various events around town and given back to the community during my time interning.
This experience has helped me to understand the real world applications of sustainability. It has also prepared me for my next step once the internship is over. I will be studying sustainability at the University of Freiburg in Germany this fall. The city is at the base of the Black Forest and is an international hub for sustainability and progressive green thinking. This will also help me to fully understand the environment before I approach business. It is easy to talk about what you have read, but nothing compares to actually being involved in what you have read about. The actual experience cannot be compared to a textbook, that is for sure.
Without WRC I would still only have textbooks and articles to go off of when trying to explain how business and sustainability go hand-in-hand; therefore, I close in thanking everyone that has been a part of this experience. The people have made this such a great and educational time in my life, but as John Muir said “The mountains are calling and I must go.”