Tuesday March 14, 2017

Creating Awareness

Hello, fellow Flyers and friends of our blog.

Allow me to formally introduce myself, before we get to the nuts and bolts of this post. My name is Ray Mahar. I am a senior at the University of Dayton, an English major and the current Digital Media and Communications Coordinator for the Hanley Sustainability Institute (HSI). I have been a part of several organizations and groups during my four years here, and to be honest, I never imagined becoming a part of such an influential group of faculty and students. 

My role at HSI in one sense could be highlighted by the basic needs I fulfill. I run the social media, I assist with website development, and I market events we are affiliated with, both on campus and online. However, my goal with this post is to share my biggest realization since joining the team at Hanley. 

When I was brought on as one of the student leaders, I believe it would be safe to say I knew the least about sustainability research, studies, and practices. I do not want this to sound like I am oblivious to sustainable initiatives, I fully support them and try to implement them into my life whenever possible. However, as an English major, I never had a great deal of coursework related to environmental ethics. When I joined the staff, I recognized how passionate and knowledgeable the students and faculty are at Hanley. I was nervous I would not be able to accurately share with the world everything they had achieved and were working towards. 

Soon this nervousness diminished in our first few meetings, as I was overwhelmed by the ability of HSI members to share their stories and projects with me. They were very open to my questions, and immediately made me feel valued as a staff member. I was educated on the Green Revolving Fund and its history. I was updated on the progress at Lincoln Hill, and I was asked for input on the Executive Director search. I learned so much in these first few weeks, and I felt extremely confident in my role moving forward. 

When I reflect on my job responsibilities, I think of one core phrase: "creating awareness." Yes, I make the Facebook posts, and I distribute flyers for events around campus. However, I see as my primary responsibility to show the incredible work of the HSI team to the rest of the Dayton community, and beyond. I believe the first step in creating change or having an impact is to share the knowledge you possess. Whether it is online or in person, I see my role as an ambassador, to pass on the progress we create here at the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

- Ray Mahar, '17

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