QUESTpedition – Sustainability Challenge

Article by Varisha Parikh (Q18)

The QUEST program can be defined using many different adjectives, emotions, and experiences.  After participating in my first QUESTpedition, I believe that QUEST is above all innovation and family.

On Friday May 6th, three cohorts of QUEST students gathered in the Tyser Auditorium of Van Munching Hall. The opening presentation, given by Dr. Bailey, detailed the student-driven accomplishments and outreach of the QUEST program. Dr. Bailey’s speech set the tone for this event and it truly felt as though the whole QUEST community had come together.

The theme of this year’s QUESTPedition was sustainability. As a large campus community, it is often a challenge to promote sustainable living. However, we knew that if we took steps towards becoming more sustainable, we could truly make a difference. For the purposes of QUESTpedition, the broad topic of sustainability was divided into six sub-topics – transportation, waste management, energy, dining, water consumption, and curriculum. Student groups were assigned to a particular sub-topic. Their task was to create an innovative idea that was practical yet promoted the core values of sustainability. The crux of this task was to ensure that the idea presented was beneficial to students, administrators, and the environment. I believe this topic was a perfect fit for QUESTpedition because innovation, organization, and implementation are amongst the core values of the QUEST program.

After being given their tasks and materials, student groups began working with enthusiasm and energy that can only be witnessed at a QUEST event. Each team was given one hour to prepare a preliminary presentation. After one hour, teams had five minutes to present to a QUEST faculty member. One team from each sustainability sub-topic was chosen to present to the entire community and a panel that consisted of QUEST faculty and campus administrators. From these chosen groups, one group won $600 to donate to their chosen charity.

Varisha Parikh and Team Sustainable Dining receive their prize at QUESTpedition

Varisha Parikh and Team Sustainable Dining receive their prize at QUESTpedition

After all the presentations had finished and people began to filter out of the auditorium, I remained stunned. I was truly in awe of the brilliant ideas QUEST students were able to come up with in only one hour. These ideas were innovative, and stemmed from collaboration by students from each part of the QUEST community. I believe the event provided campus sustainability administrators with a great list of ideas to research, but, more importantly, it gave the QUEST community proof of how amazing we are. All in all, QUESTpedition 2011 was definitely a success!

Thanks to Cognizant for their support in making this wonderful event possible.

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