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Germain’s Hub

hubImagine one day you meet a man named Felix, this man shows you that your whole world is not how you perceived it. That plastic cup you use for coffee everyday really does end up in the ocean, eating meat every day really isn’t sustainable….and most of all, it isn’t just el Nino. Suddenly you realize every action in your daily life can affect the future of our species. Sounds pretty heavy right? Well, Felix has a solution for you… take the green pill and know the consequences of your actions, the fate of humanity, and join the sustainable movement… or take the blue pill and go back into a comfortable state of denial, technology will save us and it’s not really that bad.  Which do you take?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“You need to build an army of sustainable soldiers. It can be difficult at first, but very fulfilling when you finally see the change you are making at the university.”[/pullquote]On a rainy February day my colleague Floor van den Elzen and I interview a man who has decided to take the green pill. Germain Fraser works as the Operations Coordinator at the Sustainability Hub, his main task is to introduce sustainability into the daily lives of students at the Erasmus University. Germain studies a double degree of economics and law at the Erasmus University, but always missed an aspect of sustainability in his studies. When he asked the university about sustainability programs he could be involved in, he was directed towards the Erasmus Sustainability Hub, Rotterdam’s own Green Office.

In January 2015 Germain began work at the Hub. His first week was hectic, as he was thrown straight into organising warm sweater day. This resulted in him chatting with students about sustainability, while wearing a polar bear costume… a success? We think so.

hubbearOver the last year…  Germain tells us that initially he thought sustainability was a tree hugger ideal, “crazy hippies trying to change the world in an outrageous way”. However soon he came to see that there is a business side to sustainability as well, and that there is a need to make it sexy, cool, and marketable to other students.  He tells us beginning at the Hub it’s easy to have high expectations of the change you will create, but soon you realize that it is a lot harder to make things move. The university is a large institution and very ridged, you have to fight for what you believe in. “You need to build an army of sustainable soldiers. It can be difficult at first, but very fulfilling when you finally see the change you are making at the university.”

How Green Office is your future? Like the other Green Office employees we have spoken to, it is for life. Germain will always be involved at the Sustainability Hub, potentially as an advisor or volunteer in the future. This year he will start an internship as one of the first sustainability reporting accountants at Ernst and Young and after his masters he wants to pursue life as a sustainability consultant and specialize in sustainable accounting and finance.

Spare Time? In his spare time Germain is a black belt in martial arts, which he explained is not a big deal, but we see straight through his rouse to the ninja hiding in the shadows. He is also a movie buff, seeing one each week. His favourite movie? The matrix.

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So Germain.. Green Pill or Blue Pill?  “I’ve already taken the green pill… it’s too late for me. Sometimes you take a blue pill, but it’s ok so long as you are aware that you are taking one, and remember to take a green again soon.”

 

Valerie Brown

Valerie is a recently graduated master's student at Utrecht University in Sustainable Development. She has worked as the Green Office coordinator for the Netherlands and Belgium, together with organizations Studenten voor Morgen and rootAbility. She is now exploring her options for employment in Utrecht and continuing to learn about and pursue a sustainable lifestyle.

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