Faces of The Energy Co-op: Victoria Arenas

By Ronald Fisher – 7/20/22

What do you do at The Energy Co-op? What are your day-to-day activities as a Member Services Intern? Why did you sign up for the internship here?

I help our Member Services Manager, Noah Swistak, in providing a great experience and service for our members! At The Energy Co-op, I am responsible for responding to member inquiries over the phone and email, in addition to helping Noah with other member services-related tasks, such as helping with our monthly newsletter and the Annual Member Meeting. I signed up for this internship at The Energy Co-op because I saw an opportunity to learn about the renewable energy industry in a very hands-on way. The workings of the energy sector can be difficult to understand, which is why I was very excited to find this opportunity at The Energy Co-op.


What have you enjoyed about the training and work you have done so far?

One of the things I have most enjoyed about the trainings have been the sessions in which other staff, Alexandra and Ron, presented their own areas of expertise. I also really appreciated Noah taking time to answer all my questions and explain some of the harder concepts about the retail energy industry. In terms of my work here, I really enjoyed meeting a number of members in person at the Annual Member Meeting and putting faces to The Energy Co-op’s membership.


What fact or circumstance about The Energy Co-op was the most surprising for you?

I was very surprised to learn that heating oil is even a source of energy in this region. I come from Texas, which is why this really took me by surprise, since this fuel source is uncommon there.


Tell us a very interesting fact about yourself that we don’t already know.

During the pandemic, I started altering some of my old clothing just to have something to do. I ended up revamping a lot of things I had not worn in a long time, and even made myself a new blouse from scratch. I hope to be able to keep growing in this hobby, since it aligns with the sustainable lifestyle I am trying to keep.


What’s the most memorable interaction you have had with an Energy Co-op member?

I once answered a call from a member who wanted clarification on how The Energy Co-op supplies its members with renewable electricity and renewable natural gas. The conversation lasted around 20 minutes when we started discussing other energy related things and the member started asking me about my graduate program at UPenn. It was a very enjoyable conversation for both of us!


Tell us about the funniest call or situation you have had to deal with at The Energy Co-op.

There have been a number of funny situations at The Energy Co-op, but one that stands out was when I was helping Noah track responses for our Annual Member Meeting votes for the board election, and a member filled out his prefix on the vote ballot as “His Highness.”


What activity or hobby are you glad to be able to take part in again now that most confinement period restrictions have been lifted? 

I am glad that I can get on flights again! I love traveling and I really missed going to new places and exploring when the pandemic first broke out before the summer of 2020.


What does sustainability mean to you and how do you put it into practice day to day?

To me, sustainability means creating a lifestyle in which almost everything that you do on a day-to-day basis is for the end goal of preserving the planet for future generations. Much like when you are trying to make a lifestyle change, such as working out more and eating better, it all starts with conscious decisions and the creation of habits aimed at practicing sustainability.

In my everyday life, this looks like using public transportation or walking mostly, buying secondhand clothing and home goods, not being wasteful with my food and avoiding red meat when possible. I am always educating myself on ways I can be more sustainable and telling the people in my life how they can do little things in their everyday lives to be more sustainable.


What’s next for you following your internship at The Energy Co-op?

After The Energy Co-op, I have one more year of graduate school at UPenn. Following my graduation, I will be searching for renewable energy and/or sustainability jobs in the great city of Philadelphia! I am always open and grateful for any guidance on this.