Rebecca Oaks

Rebecca is an environmental engineering major and part of the Campus Garden team as well as part of the AKX leadership team.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me sustainability means living closely with the earth. It means acknowledging that we live on a beautiful planet and wanting to keep this planet beautiful for as long as possible.

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

I am involved in many different on campus organization focusing on the environment. I am the former co-service chair of Alpha Kappa Chi, the environmental fraternity on camps, and I am the upcoming secretary for Alpha Kappa Chi. I am lightly involved with a couple projects with engineers for a sustainable world and I am also one of the student leaders for the Campus Garden Initiative.

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

Every professor I’ve ever met at UB wants to help you and watch you succeed. Many are also just as committed to creating a sustainable campus as the students. Every project I’ve ever worked on has been backed by amazing faculty who want change just as badly as the students working on the projects.

How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?

Sustainability has taught me how I want to live my life and what kind of things I want to keep getting involved with in the future. As an environmental engineering major I’m hoping to become involved in different kinds of habitat restoration projects as well as water treatment projects. My immediate goal is to join the Peace Corps after college and bring sustainable practices to other countries.  

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

I try to make sustainable actions a normal for my life. My goal is for it not to be thought of as sustainability, but just as something normal that’s done every day. I bring my reusable water bottle to school every day because buying a plastic bottle is not even something that’s on my radar as an option. I recycle because that’s just the way the trash needs to be sorted. I don’t want it to be thought of as acting exceptionally but rather just acting as you should.

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

First off, UB bottle free is a must. If you haven’t heard of it check it out on Facebook and sign the petition. There is no reason for plastic water bottles to be sold on this campus. Secondly, I think there’s a lot that could be done to conserve electricity on campus. Anyone who’s walked around at night knows how many unnecessary lights are on in every classroom and lecture hall. Thirdly, I think UB should strongly consider adding an environmental issues class as a general education requirement. Environmental problems are happening now all over the country and all students should be educated about them.