Graduation year: 2009 & 2015
Major: Communication Studies’ 09 & Green Markets/Sustainability’15
Hometown: Providence, RI
What does sustainability mean to you?
For me, being sustainable is a conscious life style choice. It’s like choosing to exercise; most people do it to stay healthy which can increase their lifespan. Although, no one is making you exercise but yourself, you have that choice to want to be healthy, or not. This is where sustainability comes in. We as humans can choose to put in our efforts to maintain a healthy world and to increase the lifespan of our habitats worldwide. I like the statement made by the Bruntland report years ago that sustainability means, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” I think that we as humans must do our best every day to balance out what we use and how we use these resources on a daily basis. Also, using the knowledge that we already have to try and offset this process as well. It’s important to be aware that the future generations will be greatly affected by the type of eco-friendly actions that we partake in on this present day.
Which URI project or program related to sustainability should we be the most proud of?
Personally, I think that URI should be the most proud of all of their environmental academic programs that they are now offering. URI has been increasing the amount of environmental education each year ever since I was a freshman here, and it has been a huge and inspiring stride to see how many people are involved. To building a more successful impact, it starts with a great education. There is a wide variety of selections pertaining to environmental studies and science that students can become involved in. The job markets are becoming increasingly aware of the needs in environmental aspects for their businesses, which is a great outlook for current and future graduates. Which leads to URI who even implemented the URI Strategic Plan for Sustainability and that is a huge accomplishment in its own.
How are you involved with campus sustainability at URI?
I am currently an intern for the Office of Sustainability at URI and have been fortunate enough to work a long side with the Sustainability Officer on campus while pursing my second bachelor’s degree specializing in Green Markets and Sustainability. We are currently working on different projects, but one large project in particular is to recruit and involve the faculty/staff members of URI to partake in creating a green team in each office to reach for becoming an actual certified green office. We are striving to become an overall green campus in the near future and with the support from our faculty/staff members, we can definitely make it happen and more importantly, make a difference. Keep a look out for us!
What can URI do to be greener?
One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that, every action counts. This could lead to a positive or negative result when it comes to our efforts in being green. One personal observation that I’ve made was that URI could definitely benefit from replacing their paper towels with hand dryers to all of their buildings. There are over 90 building on the Kingston campus and this would greatly reduce URI’s landfill amount and would actually help in saving more trees and water as well. In addition, URI could also look into the usage of solar panels as an alternative energy source for many of their roof top buildings if possible, spread the usage of recycled print paper all over campus, and maybe even have a session on sustainability for a URI 101 class for students and a similar session for faculty and staff members as well to increase the awareness and knowledge on being greener. This is in hopes that being consciously aware of these things will staple the environmentally friendly thoughts into our daily habits and routines.
What do you do in your personal life to be green?
Besides recycling everything that I possibly can on a daily basis, I live a pretty simple green lifestyle. I try to find new ideas, whether it’s limiting my trash amount, conserving energy and water, purchasing green products, using less plastic, being aware of my actions towards nature/wildlife and educating and spreading the knowledge as well. I believe that we can make an impact in so many ways even if it seems like the most minor thing to do on a daily basis. Every day I try to be conscious of my choices when it comes to being green. What’s important is to be mindful of our choices and do it until it becomes second nature. Although there are far larger changes in impacts that we as humans can do when it comes to being green, but all of these choices big or small matters.
Rainer Lohmann, a professor at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, is collaborating with a researcher at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California to learn about the health and ecology of fur seals