Soon it will have been three years since I started working for the R.W. Kern Center. I started interning at the Kern Center at the end of my first semester at Hampshire in December 2018. A new student to Hampshire College, working at the Kern Center helped to guide my direction as student and to define my identity as a member of the Hampshire community.
In my first semester with the Kern Center, I started research on the building’s rainwater collection and treatment system. This research fostered a relationship with numerous professors and professional members of the Living Building community. At the end of the semester we traveled as a team to Seattle for the International Living Future Institute’s Living Future conference. This experience informed my understanding of the greater community of Living Buildings like the R.W. Kern Center, and helping to create a greater sense of camaraderie among the professors, interns, architects and others who work with the building.
Throughout the rest of my time with the RWKC, we continued to prioritize making connections with Hampshire community and the Living Building community through frequent on-campus events for students, faculty and community members.
Practically, the Internship at the R.W. Kern Center helped me to create organizational skills, computer skills, and research skills which I carry with me to future work environments. Just as important, working at the RWKC taught me a set of interpersonal communication skills, and it gave me a set of priorities to look for in a working environment. Sara, Claire, Mer, and the rest of the team were consistently supportive, a quality that cannot be taken for granted and is totally essential in a workplace. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with the Kern Center throughout my time at Hampshire.
Oliver graduated in Spring of 2021 and is now working in outdoor education and pursuing opportunities in numerous environmental fields.
Working at the Kern Center helped to guide my direction as student and to define my identity as a member of the Hampshire community.