Our New Sustainability Intern

Hi everyone, I’m Yixuan (pronounced as “E-Shwan”) Cai. I’m the new sustainability intern here at Minnesota Historical Society. In the following weeks, I’ll work with Shengyin to develop our More for the Mission campaigns. I’m looking forward to learning how museums address sustainability issues and making voices for sustainability heard. Since I’ll post a few entries here in the following weeks, maybe you want to know a little bit about me!

I spent the first 17 years of my life at Nanjing, China. With 1,500 years of bittersweet history, this beautiful city drives my passion in exploring past days. I love lingering at museums even when I was little, partly because of the daydreams they could lead me into, and partly because of the sense of space they could evoke. At year of ten, I started to make paper rooms and attached them together to form a house just for fun. Believe it or not, I also had a paper Hogwarts! I’m a big fan of reading floor plans as well. I doodled many floor plans for my dream houses and imagined myself as a house seller. Gradually that I realized, it’s not the house seller who develops the floor plan. It’s the architect!

Ten years later, following the calling from my heart, I have just finished my junior year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with an architecture major. Turning something once was a hobby into grades is not a happy experience all the way, but I have learnt to face challenges and solve problems. Modern architectural history is one of my favorite courses. Most of my studio works focus on reconnecting outside natural landscape with interior spaces. I want habitants to have close interaction with nature even when inside buildings. After one semester of sustainable design courses, I realized that sustainability concepts will offer more options to achieve and further this reconnection. As I continue exploring different fields in architecture, this internship gives me an opportunity to learn both historic preservation and sustainable design. It is a very intriguing combination with one looking back at the past and the other looking towards the future.

I like collecting experiences. That’s why I love travelling, eating good food and doing different jobs. If not an architect, I would love to be a gourmand!

During freshman year, I was an intern at the Minnesota Student Association, where I helped developing a lot of campaign related events, including promoting the pass of the Minnesota Medical Amnesty Bill. There have always been people questioning our advocation, but I do enjoy discussing with them about pros and cons. I will try my best to build our sustainability campaigns and hopefully you will help and support us! I would love to hear your comments and suggestions!