March 2008 Reflection

Since I arrived back in Dublin in January, my time at Trinity College has become increasingly busy. When I started at Trinity College in the fall, I hoped to become involved in the same campus environmental advocacy that made my undergraduate years so challenging and fulfilling. When I arrived on campus, however, I soon realized that Trinity had no student environmental group and that student involvement in campus sustainability was sparse. In January, I teamed up with another member of my Master’s course, and received official approval to start the Trinity College Environment Society. In the months that I have left at Trinity College, I feel like I still have a lot to learn about sustainability on a compact urban campus like Trinity’s, a university where start-up capital for cost-saving environmental projects can oftentimes be scarce. I learned a lot about the challenges of building a sustainable campus during my time at Harvard. At Trinity, the infrastructure and funding is so different that, in many ways, I feel like the challenges are entirely new. Two weeks ago, we traveled to Donabate in County Fingal to plant trees for Conservation Volunteers Ireland, our first service project of the year. I am excited to see what the future holds for the Trinity College Environment Society, and I really look forward to starting a new tradition of student involvement in campus sustainability.

During the past month, I have also been devoting many hours improving my German language skills. Next year I will work on climate-related regulations for the German Federal Ministry of the Environment as a fellow with the Robert Bosch Foundation. My year in Ireland has been a good introduction to environmental regulation and climate protection within the EU. I am excited to take all that I have learned during my time in Dublin and apply it to real policy implementation within the EU. As I write this journal entry, I am also getting ready for my first St. Patty’s Day in Ireland. After a trip to the 2 Euro store, I am equipped with tri-color face paint, green hair dye, a leprechaun hat, and enough Irish flags to obscure my entire living room wall in orange, white, and green. Three friends have come to visit from out of town. I am excited to show them all of the places in Dublin that have become special to me. This weekend we will go to the Sunday farmer’s market in Howth and walk along the sea cliffs that overlook Dublin Bay. Monday brings the famous St. Patty’s Day parade and a giant Kaile across the town. On Tuesday, we plan to hike among the lakes of Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains, my favorite refuge in the outdoors. I am excited to show off the city that has become my home, and I look forward to what will surely be a St. Patty’s Day more amazing than I have ever seen.

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