Sustainability and the career fair are united for the first time this year with the Green Career Mixer, an opportunity for students and businesses who care about making sustainability a priority to meet up.
The mixer on Wednesday is open to all students and employers. It was planned as a way to not only help students find jobs that focus on sustainability, but also to help employers think of new ways to incorporate green practices into their businesses, said Victoria Carranza, environmental management and protection senior and president of the Empower Poly Coalition.
“We want businesses that are like, ‘We need help, and we want students that have a lot of integrity,’” Carranza said.
Companies that focus on green practices, such as local nonprofit One Cool Earth and fair-trade supplier HumanKind, will be at the mixer, but it is also open to employers who don’t have established sustainability practices but want to find people who can help them become more sustainable, Carranza said.
Current college students tend to be very concerned about environmental issues; the mixer is an opportunity for those students to find a job they’re passionate about, Carranza said.
“Our generation is really in tune,” Carranza said. “We realize that we’re running out of time to make poor choices that affect the environment.”
Cal Poly students, such as anthropology and geography junior Janiece Jarman, are already thinking about how sustainable their jobs will be after graduation.
Jarman said college students are very conscious of environmental issues because of highly publicized problems such as global warming and fossil fuels.
“It’s really important now, especially since we’re facing a lot of issues with unsustainable programs,” Jarman said.
Jarman, who has had internships at green companies, said she wants to work at a similar company once she graduates.
“I’d definitely like to work for a company that was sustainable and had green thoughts — environmentally friendly,” she said.
In the past, students looking for jobs relating to sustainability could attend the Green Career Fair, which was started in 2010 by Empower Poly Coalition with the help of Career Services.
Cal Poly alumnus and former Empower Poly Coalition board member Corey Kreidler proposed the original Green Career Fair in response to a perceived lack of local and sustainable businesses at the regular Career Fair, he said.
This was in part because of the cost and manpower required for a business to participate in the Career Fair, which excluded smaller companies and nonprofits, Kreidler said.
Kreidler proposed the idea of a separate fair for green jobs, and Career Services helped to set up a half-day event at no cost to attend for the companies which allowed nonprofits and local businesses to attend and gave students a chance to meet green employers, Kreidler said.
“I want to offer students something that they can really sink their teeth into,” Kreidler said.
The only real drawback was that a Green Career Fair separated sustainability as an issue from other companies, Kreidler said.
“When we had a Green Career Fair, it was almost like we were saying the regular Career Fair wasn’t good enough,” Kreidler said.
This was solved, though, when Carranza had the idea of incorporating green jobs into the regular Career Fair this year with a mixer. The mixer, because it is free and in the evening, still allows smaller companies and nonprofits to attend.
“These companies didn’t have to have their people spend all day at the Green Career Fair when they don’t have the employees to do that,” Kreidler said.
It also welcomes larger businesses that are on campus this week for the Career Fair, Carranza said.
“We’re trying to really send the message that the two are intertwined,” Carranza said.
The Green Career Mixer is Wednesday night, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the University Art Gallery. Beverages and appetizers will be served.