Written by Amanda Martinez, ESLLC 2017-2018
It’s the end of my senior year of high school. I’m starting to receive letters and emails back from the universities I applied to and am beginning to figure out where I want to spend the next chapter of my life. Among that list of notifications was the University of Denver telling me that I made it in (woot, woot). This was great to hear because I had just moved to Spokane, WA close to a year prior from Longmont, CO and wanted desperately to be back home.
It became clear to me I wanted to go to DU and even clearer to me that one of the main deciding factors was because of the location complete with mountains to hike, a city to explore, and familiar faces to reunite with. As I started to prepare for my life at DU, I began sorting through the programs available for first-year students. At this point I wasn’t being completely bombarded with emails (a nice change from the last 6 or so months of my life) and had some time to apply for things without feeling overwhelmed again. That’s when I came across the Environmental Sustainability Living Learning Community.
It was a few days before the application was closing (yay, procrastination) and I knew if I was going to be in an LLC it had to be this one. Again, there’s a reason why the location was a deciding factor when choosing DU. I love nature. In particular, I’m especially fond of Colorado nature. Furthermore, I was basically the tree hugger at both of the high school’s I attended and was always challenging ways for the school to implement sustainable systems to better the community.
With that being said, I applied, and I got in (surprise, surprise)! That was the best decision I would make leading into my freshmen year of college. It has been through this program that I have met amazing people and lifelong friends. If I didn’t join the ESLLC I wouldn’t have met my roommate that I adore, the wonderful science majors that I would have never encountered if it hadn’t been for this program (Business and Social Sciences gal right here), or the extraordinary memories I have made through this program.
One memory that comes to mind is the first ESLLC retreat. We all barely knew each other at this point and were sticking with our roommates or the people we connected with from the get-go. I vividly remember laying down in the middle of the closed dirt road looking up at the starlit sky with my roommate and another member. We just laid there looking at the night sky when all of a sudden, a shooting star flew across from the tip of one tree hanging over us, to the next. It was absolutely mesmerizing.
That shooting star, in the mountains that I call home, with my soon-to-be environmental family marked the start to something wonderful. I would go on to volunteer at several sustainability events on campus, form relationships with some amazing faculty, attend a TEDx conference that would encourage me to “wonder”, and discover more about who I am and what I care about.
Thank you, ESLLC. You have made my first-year of college life one to remember.
Image source: https://www.du.edu/livinglearning/sustainability/