Argenis Herrera is a rising junior at Williams College studying Political Economy. He is a passionate nature lover and social justice advocate.
Argenis came to the internship with extensive leadership experience in organizations including Greening Forward, a socially conscious youth-led nonprofit focused on sustainability, the Minority Coalition at Williams College, the Committee on Diversity and Community, and the Zilkha Center, advocating for sustainable solutions on campus.
Argenis participated in Williams’ backpacking orientation program for incoming students and experienced the wonder and awe of being immersed in nature. He later became a leader in the program, mentoring other first-year students on transformative outdoor trips.
Below is Argenis’ reflection on the 2020 internship program.
I came to Eagle Eye at a weird time between two places, looking for a healthy distraction from all the chaos in the world. Simultaneously, I sought clarity on a lot of what I’d been dealing with prior to arriving.
After three weeks of living sustainably outdoors at MountainStar Forest, I have found everything I’ve been looking for. There is truly no other place like this. First, there is the committed focus on sustainability that offers a plant-based diet and food grown on-site, and asks us all to be caring stewards of the forest. It’s through this focus that I was able to dismantle previously held notions of the natural world and find comfort in the balance and simplicity of nature.
But Eagle Eye doesn’t end with that. There is also a needed focus on equity and inclusion that has encouraged and allowed for heavy but necessary conversations. Since being here I have felt completely part of a family in spite of my traditionally marginalized identities. Community at Eagle Eye is not conditional; it is extensive and meaningful.
I will be leaving with memories of a simple and uncomplicated happiness, of a time unmarred by conflict or tension. I will be leaving with snapshots of time spent meditating in the morning sun, jamming out with guitars in the glow of Christmas lights, making dinner in the outdoor kitchen, night swims and bonfires under the moon and stars, and long conversations about life, love, grief, and the simple things. I will be leaving with lessons on mindfulness and communication, aquatic ecology and tree ID. I will be leaving a different person than when I arrived, and I am never going to forget that.