I’ve been involved with the Virtual Enterprise (VE) program in our local high schools from its beginning nearly two decades ago and am a card-carrying champion of what it brings to the community. I could go on for pages describing what it is, what it does for students lucky enough to become involved, what it means for the community, and ultimately its value to our society so in need of the continuous infusion of young people steeped in the entrepreneurial ethic, but I’ll leave that for another time and place. I will, however, take the opportunity to suggest that if VE isn’t a part of your local schools’ curriculum, you should ask your district to look into it.
The particular program with which I’ve become most attached calls itself the Santa Barbara High School Dons Net Café (www.donsnetcafe.com), a name that suggests a menu of activities that include Internet support to students; sale of snacks during breaks; creation, printing, and sale of banners and personalized clothing items to local businesses and civic organizations; and a host of public service activities, including income tax preparation and filing support for low-income individuals and families; neighborhood cleanup projects; and the collection of cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and other recyclables in conjunction with the Santa Barbara City and County waste management departments and Marborg Industries, a local waste collector and recycling center operator.
What I’ve found most exciting about the Public Service aspect of VE has been its inexorable march into projects related to sustainability, with recycling efforts at the leading edge. Because the Dons Net Café is so highly visible for all of its activities, it has become a role model affecting how other students view public service. Moreover, these projects are no longer considered make-work activities by the community, but valuable contributors to the public good. What I see in these students is a vital and vibrant resource, eager to play a genuine role in improving the world they are about it inherit. Because waste management is the most accessible of all the community’s environmental pursuits, it’s the one on which the Dons have focused their attention…a thought you might wish to ponder as you look at ways to add to your own resource base.
Upcomimg Forester University Webinars:
January 12th, 2012
Planning & Executing an Effective Pavement Preservation Program
As roadway networks and commercial vehicle loading continue to increase and Municipality taxation power remains limited, the need to effectively maintain and improve our pavement infrastructure is paramount. Join David Hein, V.P. of Transportation for ARA, to explore the key concepts of an effective pavement preservation program, program implementation needs and guidelines, and common roadblocks to successful implementation.
January 26th, 2012
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Public Outreach Campaign
Change starts with people. Whether your focus is stormwater pollution, energy conservation, pavement restoration, or recycling, a successful public outreach campaign resonates with your target audience and leads to long-lasting behavior change. Join Erica Hooper of SGA to explore a proven 5-step approach to crafting a successful outreach campaign based on real-world examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
February 2nd, 2012
Advanced Stormwater Treatment: Dissolved Pollutants
How effective are your stormwater treatments in capturing dissolved loads? With an average of 45% of the phosphorus load and up to 50% of the metal load transported through treatment practices to receiving waters in dissolved form, advanced treatment is imperative. Join Andrew Erickson to explore cost-effective, field-tested methods to capture stormwater dissolved pollutants and optimize stormwater treatment performance. We’ll explore several field applications and data demonstrating significant improvements in dissolved pollutant fraction capture.
February 9th, 2012
Differentiating & Monitoring Groundwater Plumes
Threatened by various plumes of mobile contaminants, urban potable groundwater resources require groundwater professionals to not only determine the source of individual plumes, but apportion the contributions of multiple sources within a composite plume. Join William G. Soukup, P.G. of Cornerstone Environmental Group LLC to discuss the analytical and interpretive techniques for differentiating plumes and their sources, as well as tips to improve long-term plume monitoring and management.