When planning your future, sometimes it’s better to put it in writing. Entering his junior year, Business major Michael Stackhouse ’13 was interested in economics but only held a vague idea of the sort of career he might pursue. It wasn’t until he was crafting a cover letter for Arcadia’s Sydney Summer Internship program that he realized his interest in natural resource economics. It was the beginning of a semester-long journey leading to a new job.
“Talking to the internship coordinator, Patrick Franklyn, I gave an idea of my interests, and he ended up finding me the perfect organization to work with,” says Stackhouse. For seven weeks he worked for the Future Sensitive Institute (FSI), a nonprofit organization based in Sydney focused on embedding sustainability into councils, schools, corporations, and other organizations through collaborative action and learning.
“FSI was only formed in January 2012, so it is a new organization that is just beginning to launch projects,” he says. “It was interesting for me to join the team during this time, because they are only in the beginning stages.”
While in Sydney, he worked with Director and Thought Leader of FSI, Bhakti Devi, towards building a business case for the Urban Irrigation Benchmarking Program. The project addressed water sustainability within local government park managers. Stackhouse was immediately intrigued in the FSI programs and was in strong agreement with Bhakti’s approach to make these organizations more sustainable.
“Bhakti appreciated my passion for the material and, upon suggesting that I continue working for her from Philadelphia, she was happy to keep me as part of the team and has made me an associate.”
Now, from Philadelphia, Stackhouse’s goal is to build interest in FSI programs. He’s focusing on two: the Urban Irrigation Benchmarking program and the Water Sensitive Schools program. Additionally, he is researching Low-Impact Developments (LID), a land-planning and engineering design approach to managing storm water runoff, in Philadelphia. “Examples of this include rain gardens, porous pavement, and green roofs—all of which you can find at Arcadia,” he says. “[My boss] wants me to photograph different LIDs around the area to provide examples of green actions being taken over here.”
In addition to working with FSI, Stackhouse is currently working as a research assistant at Arcadia and writing an article concerning storm water runoff management at Arcadia. He’s already using his knowledge base from FSI, and he continues to learn more about sustainability.