The past two weeks have really flown by! We’ve continued doing outreach and we’ve had more meetings than the first two weeks. We’ve been productive and we feel like we are getting somewhere. We’ve also gotten closer as a team. Our understanding of each other’s communication style has improved: Remee is more of a direct communicator, and I lean towards being indirect. We do tend to passionately defend our ideas, which helps us understand each other’s point of view but sometimes makes it harder to come to a consensus. However, we both appreciate that we can speak our minds, and we are quick to accept when we are wrong.

Our main focus for these past two weeks has been talking with experts to explore and refine our scope. We started meeting regularly with our industry partners at McElhanney and Keystone Environmental: Jack Percy and Chantel Richards, and Holly Grewall, respectively. We also met with Dr. Kristian Dubrawski from the Civil Engineering Department at UVic, and DrillWell, a local well-drilling company. Our conversations with these people have complemented our research to help us refine our scope: we realized that some ideas we were exploring were either too expensive or too complicated for our timeline. Based on feasibility and demand, we’ve narrowed our scope to designing a non-potable rainwater collection, storage, and distribution system for a small to medium-sized building. This is similar to the scope we started out with when we took on this project, but exploring the idea and looking at alternatives has helped us critically assess it as a solution.

We are very excited to have a potential client from Salt Spring Island! We connected with them through William Shulba, the senior freshwater specialist for the Islands Trust, the governing organization for the Gulf Islands. We emailed him because our research suggested that the Gulf Islands might have water access issues. After some follow up emails and calls, we had a meeting, and he told us about The Root, a communal processing facility for farmers run by the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust (SSIFLT). He set up a meeting with Sheila Dobie, the co-chair of SSIFLT, and we shared an interest in each other’s projects. Now, we are exploring the possibility of a partnership with them and potentially with the Islands Trust. This process has taught us about the importance of persistence, and having the patience to let your efforts come back to you.

We’ve been keeping in touch with the Shawnigan Lake Students. It’s been difficult to meet with all four of them because of their busy schedules, so we’ve been meeting with a few of them at a time. They found some schools in the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) that are interested in working with us, and they’ve thought about having a fundraiser for our project! It’s a great idea, and we will continue to work together to keep them involved.

Because of all our meetings, we’ve generally been feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement. Before a meeting, we are nervous and unsure of what to expect, but we usually come out excited and grateful for what we learned. We are continually surprised at how open people have been to helping us: professionals from companies and organizations take time out of their busy days to give us advice and reach out to their networks. We can feel some momentum building, and the project has definitely entered a new stage: we’ve gone from the uncertainty of looking for a client to the excitement of potentially having one. It feels like our feet are finally touching down on the ground we will be running on.