Cara Politi

Cara traveled to Yellowstone--part of an Ecology of Unique Environments course--to study endangered wolf populations.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability to me is a lifestyle as well as an ideology. It is the desire to live in harmony with the planet instead of harming it so that future generations will be able to enjoy the environment as we have. 

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

I co-founded Alpha Kappa Chi, UB's first professional environmental fraternity in 2011, and have been president of the organization for the past three semesters. The fraternity's goal is to raise environmental awareness both on campus and in the surrounding community, as well as to encourage networking between like-minded students through professional and community service events.  In 2012 I also worked as the Farmers Market Manager on North campus, and educated students about sustainable agriculture.

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

I have been lucky enough to foster relationships with many of UB's impressive sustainability faculty members. The fraternity uses these resources to host speaker series and learn more about different careers and areas of study within the environmental field.  The sustainability faculty in every department has made every effort to assist us in our pursuits to create a more sustainable UB. 

How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?

When I found the Environmental Studies major I felt as though I had found my place at UB.  I have been able to take incredible classes, and learn from inspirational professors which reaffirm my desire to work in the environmental field. Over this past summer I was lucky enough to study wolves in Yellowstone National Park, which was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and furthered both my love of the environmental field as well as my appreciation for all that UB's program has to offer me.

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

I think that the little things are the most important.  I always use reusable water bottles and mugs, try to conserve energy as much as possible (by not leaving lights or appliances on), and I recycle everything.  I'm also a strong proponent of volunteer work.  I believe the students at UB should know that every effort, however small, can make a difference.  Volunteering improves our community and also gives the volunteer the feeling of directly making a difference. 

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

Even throughout just my four years at UB I have seen massive strides towards a more sustainable UB with the introduction of single-stream recycling, composting, and the Solar Strand. Education is key especially with such a diverse group of students.  Encouraging students to waste less, use reusable water bottles and mugs, and to recycle as much as possible should be a priority of sustainability advocates on campus.  My ultimate goal for UB would be to see a sustainable community garden on campus to be used for education purposes as well as for improving sustainability. 

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