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Environmental Technology grad Ben Colgan creates more conscientious campus community


ben-colgan-focus-on-fleming“I have fun with waste,” says Ben Colgan, Sustainability and Waste Management Intern at Fleming College’s Office of Sustainability. “This is a great place to work.”

For the past six months, Ben has been interning for the Office of Sustainability through the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Clean Tech Internship program. He is responsible for implementing the waste diversion strategy developed by the Office of Sustainability.

During his internship, which ended on May 11, Ben worked closely with Fleming’s Physical Resources Department and created a centralized sorting system to increase waste diversion, organized waste diversion and reduction events, conducted waste audits to understand waste generation on campus, and helped develop a marketing video to raise awareness.

“The best experience of this internship is seeing a more conscientious community on campus and raising awareness on waste,” said Ben. “And doing the video with marketing was a lot of fun and very different from what I’m doing.”

Ben has enjoyed working at the Sutherland Campus for the past six months, but holds a special spot in his heart for the Frost Campus, where he went to post-secondary school. Ben is a 2014 graduate of the Environmental Technology program.

“I took the Environmental Technology program based on what I heard for employment and I was interested in protecting human health in the environment— protecting against adverse effects of pollution and misuse of the environment,” said Ben.

“It was great, it’s a fantastic program. The faculty were extraordinarily knowledgeable, friendly, and always willing to help. It was a positive and fun experience,” he said. “This program lets students take in a broad knowledge of the environmental industry and prepares you to take off in a direction that suits you best.”

For Ben, the direction that suited him best was waste management. During his third-year placement, he gained industry experience with the County of Peterborough in their Waste Management Department, which led to contracts on-and-off for two years. Following this, he worked for the City of Greater Sudbury in waste and sustainability on a six-month contract and then was hired as the Sustainability and Waste Management Intern at Fleming College.

Ben said the skills he gained in the Environmental Technology program are applicable to his internship, including project planning, coordination, data analysis, and sampling procedures.

Now that his CICan Clean Tech Internship is complete, Ben is leaving Fleming College for a full-time permanent position in Peterborough in the environmental field.

His advice to current Fleming students is to get involved and focus on your goals. “Get involved and be a part of the community. Get to know your professors and start thinking early about where you want to go to make it happen, whether it be an internship, professional development courses, networking with people in the industry,” said Ben.