The End (for Now)

February 2, 2017

By Shengjie Yao ’19

It’s 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I hear my residents stomping up the stairs back from Shooters, waking up half the hall in the process. Normally I’ll poke my head out and see them sway into their rooms, but I gave them a pass this time; we have a report to finish.

Our end-of-semester report is the culmination of a semester’s worth of reading, brainstorming, interviews, Yale trip (no plural because there was only enough funding for one trip) and countless hours of meeting in the glass walls of SSRI. It documents our findings from 16 weeks of research and discussions with our interviewees, team leads and one another. It is our end-product for our semester’s work. Our brain child. Our precious (okay, I’m getting a little carried away).

Bass Connections team

It’s not hyperbole, however, to say that the report is the crystallization of all the lessons we have learned from our Bass Connections team. We studied various carbon charge case studies, explored Duke University’s energy framework, consulted Yale’s pilot program and picked the brains of some of the brightest minds at Duke and Yale pertaining to carbon policy and implementation. We attempted to develop and evaluate carbon policies, and suggest ways Duke can move forward when it comes to environmental policies.

As I satisfied my inner OCD by formatting the headings of the paragraphs, I am not only comforted by the amount of progress we have made compared to the start of the semester, but also amazed by the wealth of knowledge that has yet to be included or discovered. We’ve barely scratched the surface; there are still so many things that are yet to be done for this project. Our report is pretty substantial, but there are many things that we have yet to cover. But this is not the end. We have another semester ahead of us, to build upon what we have already done so that we can make an informed recommendation to Duke’s administration. Daunting, but I’m looking forward to it.

I recall the bittersweet feeling I used to get in junior college during curtain calls with my Chinese drama troupe. It’s a conflicting feeling: glad that the job is done and we can give ourselves pats on the back for a job well done, but kind of sad that it’s over because looking back, the process was immensely rewarding.

Fortunately for us, it’s merely the start of a new chapter.

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