Blog

Waste Naught

UT Leah Jillian Annalisa
Leah Fontaine, Jillian Lentz, & Annalisa Tarizzo

By Annalisa Tarizzo

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Sustainability works to Make Orange Green by promoting a sustainable and equitable campus community. We take pride in our role as part of the state’s flagship land-grant university and our responsibility to mitigate the social impacts of climate change. Through student engagement and collaborative programming, we tackle issues related to waste diversion, resource conservation, food justice, and more.

While our mission statement, listed above, directly aligns with the values of many CAC AmeriCorps sites in the environmental conservation, education, and food insecurity alleviation spheres, the Performance Logs that our members submit don’t always quantitatively reflect our impact in the traditional ways. We don’t maintain hundreds of miles of trails or waterways or perform environmental education for any Knoxville youngsters. At the beginning of the 2019-20 term, the AmeriCorps members sat down with site supervisor, Jay Price, to come up with our own performance metrics for the year. Here’s how our progress has shaken out: Continue reading “Waste Naught”

Trash & Treasure

Article Authors: Annalisa Tarizzo, 2018-2020 CAC AmeriCorps Member
Christine Doka, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2015-2018

Annalisa Tarizzo is a CAC AmeriCorps member currently serving a second term with the University of Tennessee, first with UT Recycling and now with the Office of Sustainability.

1. Tell me about your role within the University of Tennessee Office of Sustainability, and why you chose to serve at this site. 

I spent my first term during the 2018-19 corps year as the Zero Waste Coordinator with UT Recycling. I chose this site and this role in particular because I wanted to gain experience working in sustainability at a large institution, and the Zero Waste Coordinator role seemed like one where I could take on a lot of responsibility fairly quickly. Continue reading “Trash & Treasure”

Essential Service

By CAC AmeriCorps Staff

As the world contracts, keeps its distance, and holds – or at least masks – its breath, there is much that’s still in need of tending. The motto of AmeriCorps is, “Getting things done”, and CAC AmeriCorps, its partner organizations, and its members have creatively adapted, improvised, and remained resolute in providing service to the community. 

Continue reading “Essential Service”

Service at any Stage or: How I learned to stop worrying and love AmeriCorps.

I love AmeriCorps. I love the people in it, the people it serves, the people leading it, the people doing it, the AmeriPets, the AmeriGear, the AmeriSpirit, I love the whole darn thing. Specifically, I love CAC AmeriCorps. I love it because my experience serving here has fundamentally redefined the trajectory of my life, even at a point where I had previously thought I was doomed to mediocrity. 

Continue reading “Service at any Stage or: How I learned to stop worrying and love AmeriCorps.”

AmeriCorps responds to Opioid Crisis, Nationally and Locally

Article Author: Gordon Harless, 2019-2020 CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Ashley Gustafson, CAC AmeriCorps 2019-2020 VISTA Member
Cameron Henshaw, 2019-2020 CAC AmeriCorps VISTA Member

All across the country, communities are suffering from the effects of the opioid and substance abuse epidemic. Over 72,000 people died from drug overdose in 2017 alone, and even now in 2020, 130 people die every day from drug overdose. Locally, Tennessee alone had 1,818 overdose deaths in 2018. Tennessee has a high number of non-fatal overdoses as well, and access to powerful drugs is not slowing. There were over 6 million prescriptions for painkillers filled in Tennessee in 2018. That means for every 1000 Tennesseans, 901 of them would have been able to have access to painkillers.

Continue reading “AmeriCorps responds to Opioid Crisis, Nationally and Locally”

Homemaking to Placemaking

by Connie Flachs

Connie Farmers Market

I woke up in my new Knoxville home, rolling off the tattered mattress pad serving as my temporary bed onto the laminate wood floor, covered in a layer of dust. What was this barren room? I had left my comfortable, cozy, love-filled Michigan home to move South and start a new adventure, but in the early morning light the emptiness of this new habitat was overwhelming.

Restructuring your entire life has a way of bringing your values (and instabilities) into sharp relief. I was frantic those first couple of days, insisting on unpacking each box, hanging each painting, arranging each book on a shelf. I couldn’t handle living in a half-lived-in place. My cat couldn’t handle it either. She dove into an uncovered AC vent and remained there for an entire day, my certainty about her tragic demise not helping my already stress tangled brain.

A few weeks in, I found myself nestled into a cozy nook of my room, cat on my lap (she decided against permanent residence in the AC vent when she realized there was no food in there), reflecting on what had made me feel so frenetic and anxious those first few days. Continue reading “Homemaking to Placemaking”