The Culture at EcoWorks – Week 4 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

The Culture at EcoWorks – Week 4

Now that I am nearing the halfway point of my summer community placement here at EcoWorks, I think I am fairly well accustomed to the local culture within the organization. It being the sustainability-minded nonprofit that it is, obviously, there are aspects of such engrained into the culture and the mindset of the employees. Besides just the abundance of refillable water bottles and keeping the lights off to conserve energy, there is an active goal of living-by-example for the community and always learning and growing. This is evident in the front lawn of the building: four wooden plots contain gardens with a variety of produce that is available to anyone in the organization who might want them, as well as the greater surrounding community. It is about providing sustainable and healthy foods as well as integrating these practices into the culture by learning by doing. Additionally, there was a building meeting a few weeks ago in which an alum from the organization, who left to start his own composting business, came in to educate and implement composting in the building. Not everyone knew the environmental and social benefits of composting before the presentation, but all questions were answered and concerns addressed and the compost bin has been properly utilized since. I think a misconception about green-centered companies is that everyone who works there must all be as informed and passionate as possible about all environmental issues; however, this simply isn’t the way things are. That’s why education is such a big part of EcoWorks’ culture – it wants to foster a space of learning so all may be more informed and make smarter decisions in the future. Creating a safe learning environment is in part what makes EcoWorks successful in its community interactions and relationships. People know that when they walk through the doors they can expect meaningful help from people who care about them and the issues.


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