I am a currently a senior at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington majoring in Environmental Studies and Humanities. This major entails studying English and Philosophy as it pertains to the environment. As an aspiring writer and activist, this combination suits me perfectly. I grew up in Southern California, primarily Pacific Palisades and around Santa Barbara. After completing my first Permaculture Design Course at Quail Springs in Cuyama Valley, CA, I have officially been planted with the seed of inspiration, excitement and eagerness to begin implementing permaculture design in every aspect of life.
At Whitman College, I am co-president of Campus Climate Challenge, a national club with chapters across the country that works to reduce our carbon footprint through a number of projects, campaigns and events. We have banned the sale of bottled water on campus, raised $15,000 to begin an industrial vermi-composting system with dining hall food waste, brought a member of the Beehive Collective, sent 10 students (myself included) to attend Power Shift- the biggest environmental grassroots non-profit conference ever held- in Washington D.C., and more. I am also the president of the Industrial Composting Working Group, diverting food waste from the landfill and instead creating soil to be used on our school farms, gardens and edible landscaping.
Earlier in my college career, I worked with a small group called Real Food Challenge to track all food bought by our dining service, Bon Appetit. Our goal was to increase local, sustainable purchases. Real Food Challenge (http://realfoodchallenge.org/about) is a national organization that Whitman formed a chapter of.
As Junior, I worked with a team of students attending colleges in the Pacific North West helping to organize a regional Power Shift to be held this November at The University of Oregon in Eugene. My role was the bottom-liner for recruitment of Washington State. I ended up recruiting around 500 students from the state who were then trained over a 3 day conference to be leaders in their their given environmental work.
I also worked to found Greeks Going Green, a program with the aim of implementing environmental stewardship into the fraternities and sororities on campus. Each of the 8 Greek chapters now has a Sustainability Chairmen who has organized a recycling systems within their chapter. The fraternity Sustainability Chairs have since written grants to get funding for thermal imaging and walk-throughs of their houses with the intent of weatherizing by the year's end. Each sorority Sustainable Chairmen is working on an individual project which will improve sustainability on Whitman's campus, ranging from hand dryers in the library to composting in fraternity yards.
Through Campus Climate Challenge, I was on the "Steering Committee", a group of 6 students who met weekly to keep the club focused and goal-oriented. All 6 of us had a specific title within the Steering Committee, mine being "Steering and Social Chair."
Aside from "green" action, I was the Editor-of-Design for the Whitman College Waiilatpu Yearbook, so design in my life ranges from both in the field to on a computer screen.
In January of 2012, as a second-semester junior, I studied abroad in Thailand with the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (http://www.isdsi.org/). I studied the impact of 2 proposed dams on the transnational Mekong River, the problem of forest fires, and reef and coral ecology along the Adang Archipelago. Backpacking and kayaking throughout the country, I stayed with host families, getting the true experience of living the life of a fisherman or a farmer. My experience was invaluable and has shaped the direction I aim to take in my future endeavors.
I hope to be a writer in creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry or journalism with a focus on "nature", permaculture, and the environmental movement. I am anxious and ready to both spread knowledge and awareness while also learning from everyone I am fortunate enough to work with.
"Power Shift West is an environmental conference focused on educating students from campuses across the Pacific Northwest on ways that they can reduce energy and protect the environment."
CHECK OUT OUR EVENT ON POWERSHIFT.ORG!
|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course|
|Verifying teacher: Warren Brush|
|Other Teachers: Daniel Parra Hensel|
|Location: Quail Springs, Maricopa, CA|
|Date: Jul 2011|