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URI Green Thinker

Kristina DiSanto

Graduation year:  December 2012
(M.S. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics)
Major:   Resource Economics and Commerce (May 2010)
Hometown: Warwick, RI

What does sustainability mean to you?
I feel like “sustainability” is one of those words that has so many different definitions.  To me it’s more of a lifestyle. Practicing sustainability is all about developing simple habits in your home or office that consider the basic necessities and comfort of current generations and also the type of environment that our future generations will be left with. It’s not necessarily about saving the planet, it’s about managing our resources and energy use in a way that’s not so short-sighted and should seem like common sense.

Which URI project or program related to sustainability should we be the most proud of?
I was really happy to see that Slow Food coordinated a farmer’s market on the quad each Wednesday towards the end of the Spring semester this year. Some students may not have known what a farmer’s market was or where to go to buy local produce.  Having one right on the quad for them to walk through on their way to class was a perfect way to open their minds to the idea of shopping locally and it was very convenient for those who already buy their produce locally. It’s all about raising awareness!
How are you involved with campus sustainability at URI? 
I’ve been an Energy Fellow at the URI Outreach Center since 2009.  I worked with a really great team of students to write URI’s Climate Action Plan which analyzed multiple projects the campus can implement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.  I’m also a student representative on the URI President’s Council for Sustainability, which is working to implement the CAP and a Strategic Plan for Campus Sustainability. I’ve been really lucky to not only help kick off both plans but to then observe the work that’s being completed to get it fully supported by the university.
What can URI do to be greener?
URI should be promoting what it’s already doing! There are so many awesome projects going on at our campus that half of us don’t even know about. We all need to spread the word out to students, faculty, and staff in ALL departments. If a program is implemented that encourages students to carpool we need to find a way to let everyone know about it. By spreading the word and increasing everyone’s awareness of the importance of these projects, we can encourage healthy, sustainable, and consistent behaviors throughout the entire campus.
What do you do in your personal life to be green?
I’m really into unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, like the toaster, my computer, or lamps; can’t forget about the vampire load! I’ve also started helping out on a single acre farm this year growing tons of different produce from seed and just started selling at the Goddard Park Farmer’s Market in Warwick (the spot where I also bought some really cool reusable snack bags!). It’s made me realize how difficult it is to grow your own food but also how rewarding it feels when complete strangers are purchasing it from you.  Check out the blog from our farm! 

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