This week the Conservation Conversations blog will recognize the work of three community groups who have been selected as finalists for the 2011 Environmental Initiative Awards. Three finalists were selected in the Environmental Education category, which recognizes partnerships that work to actively educate youth or adult audiences on environmental issues, in formal or non-formal settings. Minnesota Environmental Initiative, MEI, honors projects that have generated extraordinary outcomes for Minnesota’s environment through partnerships and educational opportunities. In recognition of successful hands-on environmental learning experiences, the Conservation Conversations blog will discuss each Environmental Education finalist on a separate day this week to promote the extraordinary environmental education work of groups in various communities.
Como Green Village Student Involvement Project
The Como Green Village Student Involvement Project is a result of ten years of outreach by the Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) to increase student involvement in the neighborhood organization and in the community. The Como Green Village Student Involvement Project reaches out to a population of 18-25 year olds, mostly students, living in the Southeast Como area to connect young residents to grass roots opportunities regarding environmental issues that impact their neighborhood. The SECIA has successfully taken on the challenge of developing participation opportunities that appeal to young adults. Project idea generation, project implementation, peer outreach, event participation, materials preparation as well as paid and unpaid internship opportunities engage young adults living in the Southeast Como neighborhood to increase their involvement in local environmental issues.
The SECIA has also developed and implemented successful outreach strategies to increase participation and maintain involvement. Recognizing that many 18 to 25 year old residents are students, living near the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus, creates a challenging temporary population making continuous outreach to this demographic critical to continued success. The Como Green Village Student Involvement Project has established an involved student population and has benefited from the involvement of multiple students at the organizational level. The involvement of young adults in the SECIA brings fresh energy and perspectives, which can be difficult for other organization to accomplish. Providing mentorship opportunities in a wide range of disciplines further educates involved students in non-profit management, community gardens, urban farming, and environmental pollution reduction methods. The Como Green Village Student Involvement Program strives to involve young adults with their local environment, provides educational opportunities, and an outlet for community involvement.
The SECIA has created and sustained a unique relationship between young adults and the community, which is often difficult to establish. The SECIA’s Como Green Village Student Involvement Project is a powerful example of successfully communicating the goals of an organization in ways that the audience can relate to and the benefits of providing opportunities that a specific demographic can find interest in. The successful outreach strategies and involvement opportunities tailored to young adults benefits the organization, students, and the Southeast Como community.
Learn more about MEI’s 2011 Environmental Initiative Awards
To find out more about the Como Green Village Student Involvement Project visit the Como Green Village website
Learn about the SECIA at The Southeast Como Improvement Association website