What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means finding viable solutions for making the earth’s resources endure for the future. It means finding a healthy balance with human need and protecting the planet for the sake of all of its inhabitants. We have a duty to be responsible caretakers of the earth in order to ensure the longevity of the natural entities that we have been fortunate enough to enjoy, for future generations.
What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?
I’m a member of Alpha Kappa Chi, UB’s first professional environmental fraternity. As a member on the e-board, I’ve worked on a number of projects and activities to promote sustainability at UB. We organize various service and professional events including Earth Day demonstrations, tree planting, and professional speaker events that promote sustainability and environmental education. I’ve also been working with the Wellness Center as the intern Farmers Market Coordinator. The farmers market is a great resource for students to have convenient access to nutritional, local produce as well as educational materials on sustainable agriculture. I believe that education and awareness are the keys to promoting positive change.
How do you involve UB’s faculty or staff in your sustainability work?
UB really has amazing faculty and staff that are interested in sustainability work and the environmental field. Our fraternity has been lucky enough to have the support of many of these professors through speaker events, workshops or hands-on advising.
How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?
Sustainability has had a huge impact on my academic pursuits as an environmental studies major. There are so many amazing opportunities and classes offered at UB that promote sustainability and conservation. Last winter I was able to camp in the Florida Everglades and take a course on unique environments. This summer I was fortunate enough to have a life changing experience studying biodiversity conservation and ecosystems in Madagascar. Habitat conservation and sustainable agriculture are both issues that I’m passionate about, and that ultimately go hand in hand. These experiences as well as my work with the farmers market have really affirmed my passion for the environment. In the future, I hope to have a career working for a non-profit organization that ties in sustainable agriculture and habitat conservation.
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?
Besides recycling and trying to reduce my resource use as much as possible, I think it’s important for people to know that you can always keep learning and improving your sustainability efforts. I’ve made a lot of small changes in my daily life that further sustainability like carrying my own reusable water bottle, becoming a vegetarian and buying local. There are so many people doing amazing things to promote sustainability who inspire me to learn about more ways I can contribute. It’s important to me to always keep learning.
How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?
Since I’ve been at UB I’ve seen a lot of great changes towards making our campus more sustainable. The opening of the Solar Strand, offering a sustainability course this spring, and breaking ground on a new campus garden are all exciting additions to our campus. Something I think UB could improve upon would be reducing waste from campus food. If we could eliminate disposable plastic water bottles, and compost more of our food waste, it would be a huge improvement.