Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Interview by:Rebecca Orleans
Carlos Mendez is going to be a senior at Oberlin High School this year. A Ninde Scholar himself, this summer he worked for the Aspiring Ninde Summer Scholars program as a Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, he assisted the Summer Instructors and acted as a role model for the Aspiring Ninde Scholars. Carlos is very committed to sustainability and also attended the Foresight Prep at Oberlin summer program in which he and his group members identified impactful solutions for food related challenges.
Oberlin is really unique. And everyone is really true to themselves.
Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Oberlin is really unique. And everyone is really true to themselves. Everybody expresses who they are. Thats what I like about Oberlin. Everybodys really open. Its really diverse, too.
Q: You moved here from Kansas, right? How did that happen? How did you feel after the move?
A: Well when I moved I didnt think much of it, because I had moved prior to that like three times. But once I started to settle here in Ohio I started to really like it. I was more open. I started to explore the town, thats something I wouldnt do in Kansas. That got me into stuff like basketball, it got me curious about environmental science, and business, and I think its really an essential part to who I am now. I feel like I would be completely different if I stayed in Kansas. Because every day in Kansas I would just stay inside playing video games. I would rarely go outside. And now here dont want to stay inside. I want to go outside and explore.
Q: You know a lot about sustainability from all the stuff youve been doing, and weve talked a lot about it in the Ninde program -- what does sustainability mean to you?
A: Well sustainability does have a lot of definitions, but to me I would say responsible use of our natural resources and conserving the inherent value of our environment.
Whenever you see theres trash on the floor just pick it up, or if youre going somewhere thats nearby dont use your car.
Q: What are you doing thats really into sustainability?
A: Well, first thing is probably the three Rs -- reduce, reuse, recycle. But then also I feel like the important thing is to spend time telling other people what is going on. Because a lot of time people are just unaware of it. Like my mom, she used to buy plastic water bottles every week and I was like, Mom, you dont really need to do that. You can just get water from the tap or filter or something. And I finally convinced her. And every time I learn something I tell her, and she tells my sister, and it just spreads. Its word of mouth.
Q: Thats one of the cool things about you being in the [Ninde] program, too, because those kids look up to you. How do you feel about being a role model in that way?
A: It feels really good actually. Because I remember kind of being their age and I thought, Oh, hes a senior, hes really cool. And thats how they see me. I just try to represent myself in a nice way, just think about my responses, making sure I have a nice exchange with them. Because I know going into my freshman year I was naive, I didnt really listen, I didnt care about a lot of things. Im just trying to teach them, [to] explore things, and be responsible, and be curious.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell other people in Oberlin about caring for the environment?
A: Whenever you see theres trash on the floor just pick it up, or if youre going somewhere thats nearby dont use your car, just ride your bike. Limit your use of plastic. Just little stuff like that. When youre done with appliances, unplug [them]. A lot of people when they leave, they still leave everything connected: lights on, TV on, and you just need to unplug it. Just the little stuff that helps.
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