Week 1: Does the civic and work environment meet your expectations? Why or why not?
The biggest shock upon arrival was how beautiful the lake appeared. I saw none of the Blue-Green Algae that was apparently the talk of the town, instead I saw a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and green space. I was then told that it is only a matter of time until the lake becomes one of the most unpleasant aspects of the town.
Acceptance into this program was at the top of my to-do list as the past Spring semester came to a close. There was much celebration at my acceptance as this program sounded like the perfect fit for me. Applying my two disciplines of Environmental Sociology and Political Science to a real and present situation seemed like the perfect fit for me. I knew the program would be research intensive, other than that I set little expectations of what to expect from Menomonie, WI.
On my eight hour drive to Menomonie from Saint Louis, Missouri, I reflected on the fact that I had not looked into much about the town at all and had no expectations of the civic environment. I knew it was smaller than towns I have lived in, and that was about the extent of knowledge I had of the area. I heard there were many recreational opportunities and was immediately pleased with the view and accessibility of outdoor recreational areas. Living in Colorado for the past few years has made me quite adventurous and I'm excited to explore all I can before I leave town!
The town is small, but much more lively and interesting than I expected a small town to be. My favorite civic engagement thus far was stumbling upon the food co-op in town, and joyfully purchasing many local and environmentally conscious goods! A close second was biking through town and seeing great views of the lake and natural areas around town!
In terms of the work environment, I thought I would be out of my element, having little to no research experience. However, the mentors are great about making the students feel welcomed and teaching us along the way. I love the community we are beginning to establish and it is already starting to feel like home. I am anxious to start our research in full force and remain hopeful that I will be able to positively contribute to the betterment of this lake, and indirectly, this community.
So although I had little expectations, I have been pleasantly surprised with all the experiences and places I have seen thus far! Follow up to come when I witness the negative attributes associated with the Blue-Green Algae that blankets the lake.