Although she won’t start college until fall of 2013, Arnold is already gaining valuable experience with WMEAC. She first became acquainted with the organization in 2012 after she and Dan Schoonmaker met at the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum awards ceremony. They had both been selected as winners of that year’s essay contest.
Arnold had heard about the contest from her English teacher who had presented it to the class as an assignment. While many of her classmates opted not to submit their essay to the contest, Arnold went for it.
She wrote about the experience she had in the 10th grade on a school trip to Costa Rica. On the trip, the students and teachers studied the ecological practices of the people. Arnold was amazed at the culture’s impeccable respect for the Earth and the role they play in its health. Her essay outlined how this experience influenced her relationship not only with the environment, but with herself as a young woman.
“This was the first time I began to realize what sustainability was,” she said. “And that if I wanted to sustain my mind and body, I had to work with it and respect it, just like the earth.”
After the contest, Arnold began working with WMEAC as a journalism intern. She started out by writing a few articles for The WMEAC Blog and the Rapidian and felt at ease in her new professional environment.
“Interning at WMEAC put me in a comfortable environment where I have been able to become friends with like-minded people,” she said.
She also supports A Watershed Moment, a weekly program that focuses on issues in the environment, which airs every Tuesday morning and afternoon on WYCE.
“It’s a great program for not only the community to learn about events and issues, but me as well,” she said. “I’ve not only gotten to practice a wide assortment of tasks in the field of journalism, but have learned a lot more about the environmental field, and how much is actually going on, from sustainable businesses and local events, to energy programs and local authors.”
After this May’s commencement, Arnold will take her talents to the University of Michigan, where she will focus on international studies and journalism. She hopes to continue sharing news of the environment and the people who affect it, whether good or bad.