What I learned in my [nerd] summer camps were..

Second verse same as the first.

Second 10 day crash course on sustainability and renewable energy of the summer. First off, let me give a brief description of these types of programs. (well more of an analogy because describing it would be super boring)


Imagine you were spartan kicked into a pit of cats (about a 15 foot pit)((with a small bit of water at the bottom just for funs)) At first you are super overwhelmed. There is so much going on. Everyone is clawing at information. Nobody knows what to do. But then as you’re laying there on your backing thinking that you are drowning you realize, ‘oh, I can stand up in here’.. so you stand up, you start to look at things differently (way different than you ever did in any other academic setting). You realize there are some stairs heading to the top of the pit so you grab all of your cats [metaphor for ideas] and start heading up these stairs. Well guess what, cats are assholes sometimes and they all freak out and jump out of your arms. [your ideas were basically shit and not feasible] –>


Not defeated (per say) you pick your cats back up and put them in the elevator you just designed and you all happily make it to the top. <– yeah that was a super quick solution right. ha. yeah. Well you’ll spend most of the time getting these ideas you think are brilliant and fail miserably, but because of the time crunch you’re forced to pipe out an idea and its brilliant! brilliant! brilliant! You then inject caffeine straight into your veins and deliver a presentation in a delirious state of mind as olive dehydration, minor hangovers, and lack of sustenance bc all you have been eating was soup and bread, Chick-Fil-A, and soylents. To be honest, I can probably ask the 62 other students I worked with over this summer if they would change and thing and I bet almost all of them would say no. An experience unlike any other. #BestNerdsOnEarth #OnlyOnTheGreenProgram

The people

Good grace. Have you ever just sat in the same room with [X] amount of passionate nerds? BOY is it nuts. It is a melting pot of opinions, ideas, backgrounds, cultures, studies, you freakin name it. You have people shouting from rooftops about nuclear energy, about socio-sustainability, and the occasional Buddy tripping over a rock. One thing is for sure, everyone has that little look in their eyes. It’s that look you see when someone goes on a tangent about something they are passionate about, but then step back and say ‘omg I’m sorry, I don’t mean to go on this tanget’. Like nah Dorris, you go on that tangent about why the higher thread count sheets are a waste of money and resources. (I imagined Dorris was a student that participated in one of these programs a few eons ago) but no, this passion and energy was present in every one of these individuals I met. From age 19 to age – Dad. This gives me so much hope for our future as an environmental society as well as a society in general. The things that can come from [x] amount of nerds in a room, strung out on Dunkin (hold the straws), and on a time crunch are incredible. From underground lasers covered by piezoelectric umbrellas to a sustainable community ridden of its’ food desert label.

Wow. CJ, so these nerds must not do anything but read every day. HA. As if. These nerds were some of the funnest people I have ever had the pleasure of hanging out with. Their life stories and their motivations are insurmountable and inspiring. They have inspired me to follow my passions and not give an eff about what people will judge you on. These people were some of the best to grab a drink with (or few bottles with s/o Alex). These are the professional relationships and powerful friendships that might just shape your future career paths.

S/o all you nerds. You guys are the best.


The projects

Well the projects honestly felt like it took a mini backseat to the relationships and lectures, but they were very important. They really pushed you down a path that you never really went down. It was very big ideas based and very environmentally & socioeconomically eye-opening. You were truly able to appreciate the beauty of our world and even the beauty in the pain of some communities (okay, I know this sounds super privileged where I am coming from, but hear me out). North Lawndale is super historical town that is just in one of its’ metaphoric valleys. This valley is still filled with beautiful trees, landscapes, and oasis’s, they just need a little maintaining. But what I am trying to get at is that we need to let our eyes stray from the blinders we put on every morning and appreciate the world for what it has. That is what these projects have helped me accomplish, and I could not feel more appreciative to be given these opportunities.

Thank you Green Program and thank you SISE. My final ‘summer between semesters’ was a phenomenal one.


jæja, CJ

*Here are some awesome images so I can brag about my experiences and people I met


Chicago boyzzz P: CJ, Alex, Sean


Pictured left to right: Ed, Paige, Alex, Meghan, Krystal
Pictured left to right: CJ, Whitney, Alex, Megan, Paige, Sean, Brad

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