Story of The Week 11/28/2016
11/28/2016 Story of The Week
Learning while teaching, Teaching while learning
By Phoebe Howe, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation Project Assistant
In the past quarter I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of students, both individually and in groups, about my work with Efficiency Vermont and the Mobile Home Replacement Program. Although relatively well-off high school and college students are definitely not our target audience for outreach and advocacy efforts, talking about the challenges facing mobile home residents, the benefits of zero-energy modular homes, and how our replacement program works has been a really enriching experience, both for me and for the students. I have become more skilled at tailoring my communication abilities to my audience and relating to students' mindset, while the students have been exposed to a whole set of challenges and opportunities that they didn't know existed in Vermont.
In particular, I think about one of the students, who is from London and the nephew of a co-worker. He wanted to shadow someone in our office for a week, so I took him to meetings and on visits to mobile home parks. He felt challenged by the dire living and financial situations that he was exposed to, and I felt challenged to answer his questions about how the conditions within our state and country created these situations in the first place.
Back at the office the enthusiasm and curiosity of some the college students interning at Efficiency Vermont for the summer was motivational, as was the relative indifference of others in its own way. Heading into my continued work with mobile home replacement, I look forward to engaging students as often and effectively as possible to offer our program fresh energy and contribute to their understanding of the social and environmental issues in our state.