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Jayralin Herrera


Jayralin is a member of the Sustainability Academy and part of the UB Campus Garden leadership team.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability to me means learning to live within your means, whether they may be monetary, or just environmentally speaking.  One should strive to treat the environment with the same respect one does to their own body, loving it and keeping it clean and thanking it every day for everything it provides.

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

In addition to being a vegan (there’s a lot more compostable, plant-based foods I eat) I’m also working this summer towards becoming zero waste.  As I’ll no longer be on the meal plan I’ll be shopping for all of my food and now I plan on reducing my waste to as little as possible.  That means bulk bin shopping, placing grains and other small-particle foods in glass jars and buying fruits and vegetables and placing them in fabric bags or cloths.  I’d like to have as little waste as possible because the process should be refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot as highlighted by Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home.

How do you involve UB’s faculty or staff in your sustainability work?

I am close to some of my professors that I’ve taken classes with and like to stay in contact regularly regarding environmental news and events going on campus.  When I had to introduce Annie Leonard in the spring semester of my freshman year it was professors like Dr. Ken Shockley, Ms. Andi Coulter, and Mr. Ralph Critelli that really helped me out with my content.

How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?  

I implement sustainability through everything that I study.  I’m also pursuing minors in English and French and a creative writing program.  I realize now that a lot of my writing (both poetry and prose) tend to revolve around the same principle – how we impact the environment and how that impacts everyone’s life.  The plants, animals (yes, let’s not forget humans are animals, too), soils, rocks, climate, everything is so delicately interconnected and I love drawing that through everything I learn.

What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?

I’m really into eco-fashion!  As I have very little possessions the pieces of clothing I do have I like to use to the fullest by having them be multifunctional.  An example of that is a piece I have called the Versalette by Seamly which can be turned into thirty different garments through a series of strings that can be pulled and adjusted.  The company is also very sustainable because all of their clothes are multifunctional and are made from surplus fabric right in Denver, CO.

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

UB could definitely begin to improve its sustainability efforts by phasing out plastic water bottles.  It is extremely unnecessary and so many schools have already taken the pledge to stop selling them.  It would be incredible to no longer see a “pure” natural resource sold in cancer-causing plastic bottles.  Also, definitely improving the efficiency of the bus system!  

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