Dhruv Khar, 2013
Ben Kahane, 2006-2007
You may ask yourself, wow sounds cool, I wonder if the SLI helped him out along this career path. The answer is a resounding "definitely". I'm from New Jersey, so the east coast is home to me, but I did start to fall in love with west coast living, before I got a great opportunity with this company in Maryland. After SLI I moved to Sacramento and worked for SunTechnics, another solar installation company. However, I met the girl who hooked me up with that job while I was interning. Sacramento was great and so was that last job. Unfortunately, things were not looking very good for SunTechnics at the start of this year, and when this job opportunity presented itself I decided to head back, where I could be a short drive to my family (as apposed to a 7 hour flight). My family played a significant role in my decision to head back east, as they are a very important part of my life."
I can honestly say that the life lessons and experiences I had in Hopland, and with the Solar Living Institute, were as valuable if, not more so than anything I learned in college. I would recommend this experience to anyone who has an interest in sustainable lifestyles; whether your already into organic gardening and cob construction or simply curious about a way of life less toxic to yourself, others, and our environment in general. It was a short time in my life that I will take with me always, and those are the rare experiences that are worth having.
Christopher Neidl, 2006
In the autumn and winter of 2004-2005 I was fortunate to spend time at SLI as both a workshop student and as an intern. Before making the commitment to the program, I researched my options extensively. I can say without any reservations at all that the six-month period that I spent working and learning in Hopland remains among the most fertile and significant of my career – in fact, in many respects, it marked the beginning of it!
Apart from direct access to expertise, one of the greatest assets that SLI affords its interns is the ability to tailor their work and learning experiences according to their own interests, talents and goals. This made all the difference in my time there because it allowed me to discover a vocation that I only vaguely knew existed before I arrived. My current position as the outreach and program coordinator for a green arts and education center in New York requires that I juggle many different responsibilities throughout my day – curating lectures, organizing events, managing press and communications, conducting research, etc. It was under the superb guidance of SLI staff and instructors that I tried many of these hats on for the first time, and discovered that they fit. As a result, I was able to develop clear goals and gain insight into what area of environmental work that I might best direct my energy and skills.
The Solar Living Institute is already an important hub of knowledge and learning. However, provided with additional resources to continue and expand its programs, I am convinced that SLI's contribution to sustainable education could become truly extraordinary in its reach. I thank you for your attention.