June 7, 2011 - 6:14 PM
My last finals week has officially begun and it's probably one of the more unique ones I've had. Yesterday and today have been completely devoted to finishing up the Community Planning Workshop (CPW) in more ways than one with Team Solid and the rest of the class.
Monday morning, Monique and I met at the HEDCO Learning Commons to run through our first of two final presentations for the City of Eugene; for this one we presented on an economic analysis and procurement practices for carpet and asphalt shingles. Monique and I ran through our local market assessment for both waste materials as well as purchasing and procurement practices that other city governments are utilizing in order to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
The idea with this presentation was to provide information about the current status of construction and demolition debris recycling in the local Eugene-Springfield Metro Area (ESMA) and offer some recommendations for how to improve those practices and divert more waste from the landfill. That is after all our overarching goal with this project, diverting waste from the landfill.
The presentation went off without a hitch. Monique probably spoke about 75% of the time for the presentation, seeing as she did the majority of the work for this section of our team's project, and she absolutely killed it. The City representatives that we spoke with were thrilled with our recommendations, and I felt privileged to presenting with Monique.
One final presentation done and one to go, but after a long day of working it was time for a quick break. After our presentation ended I hopped on my bike and raced home from the Atrium Building - where the City of Eugene's central office is located in downtown Eugene - to change clothes for our CPW kickball game. That's right, I said KICKBALL!
I have to remind myself that CPW was my graduate level class, yet I often found myself doing seemingly non-graduate level activities, e.g., writing rap lyrics for a music video about solid waste and playing kickball. Nonetheless, it was a perfect way to decompress after a very serious presentation.
It was nothing but smiles yesterday afternoon at the CPW kickball game. I don't think there was a single time the ball was kicked that I didn't end up laughing out loud. There were great catches in the outfield, bobbled balls in the infield and horrible miss throws to every base. There was a good deal of time trying to explain the rules of kickball to Nan Zhao, our classmate that grew up in China. Somehow she always ended up kicking for her team first. Then our opponents devised a new strategy where they would line up together at home plate so that we wouldn't know who was kicking until we pitched the ball. I think my favorite part of the game was that we didn't keep score. We barely even paid attention to how many outs we recorded every half inning, and I actually couldn't tell you how many innings we played. Like I said, it was loads of fun.
Joanna pitches to Mark in the CPW kickball game.
After the kickball game, we moved the party over to Bethany and Erik's house - Bethany was one of three professors for CPW. The dinner was our way of celebrating the end of an arduous six months of CPW, and it was a grand way to put a close to our time together. We ate outside on their deck, cracked jokes, enjoyed each other's company and met Bethany and Erik's daughter, Sabine. We asked Mark, our project manager, some of the burning questions we had that we couldn't ask him during the project, such as ‘were there any times when you had no idea what was going on?' The answer, of course, was ‘yes.' The CPW was more than just a class for all of us. It was a family. And it's a family of fiends that I'm going to miss a whole lot next year.
This morning, my team met for our oral final with Bethany and Bob Parker, the director of CPW. The Oral Final was more or less an hour-long reflection on our team's successes. Normally, I would say "successes" and "failures," but Team Solid didn't really have too many shortcomings. I've worked on my fair share of team projects and Team Solid was by-far-and-away the most cohesive and effective team I've had the honor to work with. And I wouldn't be saying this to you all if my sentiments weren't shared by my teammates and, more importantly, by Bethany and Bob. Simply put, Team Solid kicked butt and took names, and we can only hope that the work we have completed for the City of Eugene will be lead to real results in the near future.
After our oral final, we headed over to the Atrium Building again for our second final presentation for the City. This time we were presenting the other three end products we've been working on this term, and once again our recommendations were well received. Monica and Joanna presented the finding from their research on waste recycling policies. Dana presenting talked about his work on assessing the Building and Permitting Service department's online permitting web site. And I closed with my work and suggestions for developing an online locator for material recycling and reuse facilities around Lane County.
With that presentation, the Community Planning Workshop was over. We the City a two hefty binders filled will all of the memos and reports we'd written over the past six months and breathed a sigh of relief. Our work here is finished.
Final breakfast at Studio One with Team Solid.
(Conterclockwise from the bottom left, Joanna, me, Monica, Dana, Mark, and Monique.)
To close, I'd like to give one final appreciation to my teammates - Dana, Joanna, Monica, Monique, and Mark - for an amazing six months that I will not soon forget. I have learned something from each and every one of you and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the best of luck as you finish you studies and I cannot wait to see what you will all accomplish in the future.
Thanks, Team Solid. You're the best!