As I was scrolling through the syllabus, seeing what assignments we have left for the semester, I came across the section where Professor McCoy included the “often-invisible responsibilities” that make up the job of a professor. These responsibilities include 50 percent teaching, 35 percent research and creative activity, and 15 percent service. I think a lot of the time we do not acknowledge the work that professors put in because a lot of it is done behind the scenes. Reading this part of the syllabus, reminded me of when we visited the heating plant. I was clueless about how much work goes into distributing heat around campus and making sure that the places on campus, remain at a certain temperature at all times. The visit was very informative and I learned a lot. I had no idea that they use two turbines to deliver the heat and there are workers there 24 hours a day to keep everything in check. When I went back to my suite, I told my roommates about our visit and similar to me, they had no idea that the heating plant even existed. The workers hard work is often overlooked and I am glad I got this opportunity to give a token of my appreciation.
When asked to log our food over spring break, I was caught by surprise. I could not figure out how what I eat, could be linked to my African American Literature class. I actually decided to go vegan in the month of February after reading plenty of articles and watching several documentaries about how veganism reduces your carbon footprint and is essentially the best thing you can do for the environment. It is no secret that some food is better for the environment than others. For an example, meat and dairy products are not sustainable. This brought me back to the Dionne Brand’ epigraph, “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice.” By writing down what we ate every single day, we became aware of our own personal impact that we had on the environment. The first step is to notice that we have an impact, and the next step is to use our knowledge on sustainability to change our habits and make the impact positive.
In the Black Nature packet containing several poems that Professor McCoy gave us, the poem “generations” stuck with me most. The poem states, “if it was only/you and me/sharing the consequences/it would be different.” We have to think about the destroyed earth that we will be leaving for future generations if we do not clean up our act. This attitude that we will no be around to face the consequences of the earth we destroyed, is terrible. Being more cautious about what we consume and what products we decide to use on a daily basis, can make the earth a better place.