Intern Perspective – Kayla Ratajczak (Aldridge)

When the LEED internship was introduced last semester I was excited to be a part of it because of how important I thought it was. I knew I would be learning a lot that I could take with me as a professional designer. I believe sustainable design principles will be standard in the near future, and I knew it was important to be a part of it.

That being said, I really had no idea what I was in for this semester! I have transformed from being interested in sustainable practices because I am passionate about their importance, to being interested in them because I really think they are so cool! Even after just a couple months in this internship I view sustainable design in a whole new light. I can’t really pinpoint what it is for me, but everything from research to touring the campus to meetings with the AAS architects really get me excited about sustainability. I remember when Dan Ackerstein came to speak with us thinking, “Wow, his job is so cool!” Then, I laughed to myself because when I first joined the program I would have never thought as a designer I would be interested in the greening of facility operations. I am still passionate about interior design, but I wonder if I’m now finally seeing the bigger picture.

During an interview with Anna, she said that it was her goal that what we’re doing here at West Valley will be adopted by other colleges. I could not agree more. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something like this, with the possibility that others may look to us for inspiration in the future. I have been helping to write a Best Practices document this semester and I have to keep reminding myself that this semester is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see how it transforms over the years.

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