Senior Sustainability Intern Farewell Messages – Rachael Ruggiero

portrait of rachael ruggieroHere we are – four years after starting school and two years after starting the Office of Sustainability. My name is Rachael Ruggiero and I am a graduating intern at the OS. There’s been so much that has happened in my time here and I don’t know if I can fit it onto one post, however, I’m going to give it a try.


I started at the Office of Sustainability not knowing much about what the office does on campus. I think some of my connections across campus helped me get the job. I was about to become president of the Residence Hall Association on campus, and I had a leadership position in my sorority, Delta Zeta. These other clubs that I am involved in helped shape the programs and events I worked on in the office.


Starting from day one I was nervous to see what the work environment would be. I also ended up being one of the new hires who couldn’t login and get started right away, you know, because there is always one. However, despite this, I feel like I was really able to hit the ground running, especially in the EcoCaptain Intern program. At the time of my hire, it was a new paid program, a collaboration between ResLife and our office. From my work with RHA, it was easy to understand how the EcoCaptain Interns could work with other ResLife officials and clubs in their area to make a difference. In the two years I worked with the program, it has grown so much. We are able to better understand what we want from our EcoCaptain Interns and vice versa. This means that when they start in the fall their transition is much quicker and we’ve been able to get to know the EcoCaptain Interns on a different level and better integrate them into the office.


Another project which has taken up a significant time at the office is working on communications. I worked a lot with the communications team thinking of new ways to give the office a brand that could continue even after I graduate. I think working on the communication team has been one of my biggest accomplishments at the office. Working with the other awesome team members, we now have a “brand” we can be confident in. It was important to me that the office create promotional material that I think I would want to see if I were scrolling on Instagram, and now in the future I’ll be excited to see what office is bringing to campus from a promotional standpoint. The office also brought in our staff Communication, Outreach, and Education Coordinator, Betsy Mortensen, in Spring 2022. She has been instrumental in getting new projects and ideas started.


My other jobs at the office surround helping with events such as the Haunted HEEP, Green Game Days, Earth Day Spring Fling, and more. I love working with all of the interns, past and present. The office has afforded me insight in how the University manages sustainability and has created connections for me that I’ll never take for granted. I was particularly lucky to sit on the search committee for the Director of the OS. That opportunity gave me some of the most valuable information for my own job searches in the future, even though I was sitting in the interviews instead of being interviewed. I would have never had that opportunity without working at the OS and now I feel like I’ve helped make a long lasting change here. I am also very excited to see the work Joe Fullerton will be doing in the future!


Lastly I just wanted to thank everyone I’ve worked with in the office these past two years, my boss, Patrick McKee, the amazing interns who graduated last year, Hope, Maizey, and Lauren, had taught me so much before they left and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. The interns hired this year Amogh, Lilly, Sydney, Amanda, Allie and Leo have shown me that the office really can do anything, with all of their amazing ideas. I am also grateful for them because while there were so many projects our office is still working on, and I know we’re leaving everything in their very capable hands. I also want to thank the seniors graduating with me, Maggie, Erin, Chase, and Sam. I would be nowhere without them and they have become some of my greatest friends. I’ll never forget the impact that the Office of Sustainability had on my undergraduate career and hope to carry those lessons going forward.

Senior Sustainability Intern Farewell Messages – Sam Kocurek

Sustainability’s Community at UConn

sam kocurekStarting my internship in the Fall of 2021, I remember feeling so isolated. After a year online in which no friends were present and no clubs were active, I came back to a community that I felt estranged from. I walked to the Office of Sustainability on a sweltering summer day and the sweat on my palms wasn’t from the heat (if you catch my drift). I entered feeling so unsure and nervous if I belonged and Cherie Taylor, our Administrative Coordinator, turned to me from her window and said “Sam! I’m so glad you’re here with us!” No words ever impacted me like those. My trepidation evaporated with my sweat.

My time at the OS showed me what a sustainable and kind world looks like. Sustainability can be a difficult community to enter. If statistics and research has taught Gen-Z anything it’s that the climate crisis is immense and action needs to occur immediately and effectively. And I think we tend to act with righteousness with our actions. How can anyone speak up and feel welcome under such conditions? I have felt unwelcome and isolated personally in rooms with other environmental students (and I consider myself someone who knows a thing or two about sustainability at UConn).

But as I write this, I encourage you to beware of this single story. While there are certainly people here who will make you feel small and gaslight you into thinking you’re not sufficient, the staff and students at the Office of Sustainability are anything but. We have a small staff, three full-time staff members (one of which was only hired a month ago) and 1 part-time employee. Betsy, Patrick, and Cherie have kept the OS running without a director for the last two years. They are overwhelmingly kind, supportive and knowledgeable. Beyond being supportive of the interns and EcoCaptains, I have seen them aid other staff and faculty across the university in addition to the large numbers of students that approach the office. Never once have they made me feel like I was not enough. They are role models that I hope to emulate when I enter the “real world.”

Working on a team of likewise amazing interns has also been life changing. During my time at the Office of Sustainability, I have collaborated with the other interns on a number of projects including the submission of UConn’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, UConn’s 6th & 7th Bee Campus USA Certification, UConn’s 9th & 10th Tree Campus USA Certification, Haunted HEEP & EDSF, AASHE STARS, EcoMadness, RecycleThon, etc. The other interns provide fresh perspectives and are always immensely passionate and helpful. It’s these people that make me feel hopeful for the future.

Beyond the OS, I have found other sustainability-oriented professionals across the university to be immensely passionate and helpful. Through my variety of projects, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of professionals ranging from Katie Milardo in Facilities Operations to Eileen McHugh in Planning & Design. I think this was the real driver of my change and growth in undergraduate. You learn many important skills such as professional communication and while these are important, I think what most influenced me was the second-hand passion that I received from these people. There are a number of people across UConn that work on the sustainability of our school and they go above and beyond for student interns at the OS – that’s why I named Eileen and Katie particularly.

Leaving UConn won’t be easy. I have roots here and to a degree graduation feels like someone is pulling me out like a weed. But my experience at the OS has prepared me to be transplanted at the University of Michigan and succeed. I think in grad school I want to be more intentional and appreciative of where I am – I have deep gratitude for my time at UConn and the OS and I hope to cultivate a community like the one I have interacted with here. As Mariah Carey once said, “Why ruin the journey by watching the clock and the ticking away of years?”

Senior Sustainability Intern Farewell Messages – Erin Lindsay

Erin LindsayFor the past two years, sustainability at UConn has taken the backseat. But it’s not for a lack of trying on behalf of the Office of Sustainability (OS).  Fall 2021-Spring 2022 was the school year of remembering –, remembering how to take in-person tests, remembering how to act in a crowd, remembering how to order at the One Plate, Two Plate register, and for the OS, remembering how to persuade UConn administration to endorse sustainable policies. The last being the most difficult in a post-pandemic world. This past school year, Fall 2022-Spring 2023, was a year of progress. Next year, I hope campus continues off that forward momentum, furthering UConn’s sustainable agenda and reducing our footprint. For these last two years, as a Student Intern at UConn’s Office of Sustainability I have had the incredible opportunity to work with many UConn Departments and sit in on countless meetings being able to see how far the school has come, and how far we will continue to go.

If my time at the OS has taught me one thing, it’s that sustainability is everywhere. Before working at the OS, my knowledge of sustainability transitioned from just knowing the definition of the word from a textbook, to seeing it implemented at the municipal level from my time at SustainableCT. Now, I can say that the OS has successfully shaped my understanding of sustainability showing me how it is centered in collaboration, equity, education, and passion. Through my time at the OS I honed my professional skills, learned new competencies, and gained experience I wouldn’t have anywhere else on campus. I worked on surveys such as Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Greenmetric UI, and AASHE STARS, helped lead events such as Green Game Days, Haunted HEEP, and Earth Day Spring Fling. The most important piece of advice I can give to new OS interns and the greater community is that enthusiasm and dedication to a cause goes a long way. Like any job in communications, you are going to be faced with rejection. Sometimes people won’t answer, sometimes people will shoot down your ideas; however, it is important to remember to treat these only as obstacles and not as dead ends. If you are passionate about something, you will find a way to get it done (and sidenote, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help.) I am grateful that not only was my internship a great work experience, but it also helped me find life-long friends that share similar interests. I can confidently say that my fellow interns will make a lasting impact on the world.

Next year, I will be a graduate student at Boston University pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in the field of Environmental Health. This program tackles issues focused on the relationships between people and their environmental including reducing environmental hazards, understanding environmental impacts on health, and critically analyzing increased environmental risk in areas burdened by social inequalities. My internship at the OS helped me narrow down my focus to environmental health and it taught me that the impacts of how we treat the environment are all around us. I am extremely grateful for the hands-on experience I was able to gain through my internship with the OS. I was able to work on a variety of projects spanning creative design, data analysis, environmental policy, and campus-wide events. Exposure to a wide variety of subjects helped me understand focus areas I excel in and ones I want to improve in.

If you are considering applying to the OS, whether for an intern position or as eco-captain, my suggestion would be to absolutely send in an application. The OS shaped my time at UConn and helped me find the path I want to embark on. The future of UConn’s sustainability is bright, especially in the hands of the OS. Thank you to the entire OS team including current and past interns, administrators, and all of the people I met along the way.

Apply to the Fall ’22 Internship at OS

The Office of Sustainability is Hiring!

The Office of Sustainability is hiring a new cohort of interns. These paid internships provide excellent work experience, hone leadership skills, and set students up for success in environmental positions after graduating. Please apply to our team of sustainability-minded student interns. Positions are 8-12 hours per week and will begin Fall ’22. Interns deal with all kinds of sustainability topics – from energy use to environmental communications. All majors welcome!

Apply by April 30th

Must be a current first-year or a second-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at UConn


Congrats and Farewell: Our Seniors

Four of our interns are now officially UConn graduates! Although this was not the senior year we wanted for them, and our office graduation traditions are now happening over WebEx, we are still so proud of them. They have all been integral members of the office over the past four years, and they will be greatly missed. Below we share everything they have accomplished during their time at UConn, what the future holds for them, and our favorite memories with these special people.


Matt McKenna

Matt joined our sustainability staff in the spring of 2018 and has been a key contributor on many of the Office’s more technical assignments. He was the author of UConn’s 2018 and 2019 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and served on the Bicycle Friendly University working group. In 2019 Matt took a more active role in outreach and engagement initiatives and led a volunteer team in trailblazing the Blue Trail in the Hillside Environmental Education Park (HEEP) while helping advise on the design of a Pollinator Garden and Pavilion which will be constructed in the HEEP in the near future. He also provided critical leadership in completing UConn’s 2019-2020 AASHE STARS report. His “steady Eddy” demeanor in the office made him a reliable teammate and provided reassurance in his abilities to turn around an assignment quickly and accurately.  In the summer of 2019 Matt had the opportunity to further round his engineering skill set while working on wastewater effluent treatment methods for nutrients and chlorine during his internship with Arconic in Davenport, Iowa. Outside the office, Matt is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and is well known for his Duck Pin bowling prowess. He is graduating from UConn with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. Matt’s post grad career begins in Plainville, CT, where he will be working for Loureiro Engineering. His presence will be greatly missed in the office. 



Sophie MacDonald

Sophie joined our Sustainability staff in the spring of 2017 and has been a talented intern and truly supportive leader. She has been the graphic designer and webmaster for the office during her time here, using her skills to elevate the brand of the office via a new office logo, a complete overhaul of the website, and countless graphics for t-shirts, events, the campus sustainability fund and more. Sophie was also a lead on many projects, including the Green Office Certification Program, where she led the effort to reach 100 certified offices and before that took on completion of the 2017 campus greenhouse gas inventory.  Outside the office, Sophie has an incredible passion for renewable energy, and has been a valued team member of countless labs and projects on campus from developing community microgrids to studying solar cells to analyzing termites. She co-authored the student declaration that was a vital part of this September’s climate strike, and her honors thesis is a holistic assessment of renewable energy implementation options on campus. In her free time, Sophie enjoys hiking, climbing, and writing philosophy essays. This year she received the 2020 UConn Spirer/Dueker Student Humanitarian Achievement Award. Sophie is graduating from UConn with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Philosophy. Starting this summer, Sophie will continue her passion for ethical renewable energy as a design engineer at MPR Associates in Alexandria, VA.




Charlotte Rhodes

Charlotte joined our sustainability staff in the spring of 2018. With a level of professionalism and organization that we were all inspired by, Charlotte brings whatever initiative she leads to the next level, whether it be the annual Climate Change Cafe, the office’s newsletter, UConn fundraising events or any other communication piece. She is also always coming up with new ideas to bring the whole office to the next level, whether that be the photo contest she created and executed her first semester in the office, or a creative promo video she filmed and edited documenting the student experience at COP24. In her free time, Charlotte was just as impressive, completing internships that included being a Public Service & U.S. Forest Service Sustainability Operations, Climate Change, and Wildlife Ecology Intern as part of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership and an REU at the University of  Maine where she completed an independent project titled Documenting Human and Societal Impacts of Extreme Weather Events. In her free time, Charlotte can be found collecting bugs for her classes, taking notes in calligraphy, and color-code organizing her planner. Charlotte is graduating from UConn with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  After graduation Charlotte will be moving to College Station Texas to attend Texas A&M University to pursue a PhD in entomology.




Jon Ursillo

Jon joined our Sustainability staff in the fall of 2017. He has been the OS’s waste guru, working to streamline UConn’s recycling procedures during his time as an intern. With the ability to inform as he pushes for sustainability, Jon has created personal connections with different stakeholders across campus in these efforts to move UConn towards zero-waste. Jon has brought a wonderful sense of professionalism mixed with humor to our office environment. Outside the office, Jon played a key role in the formation of the President’s Working Group on Sustainability and the Environment, and has been an active member of the working group and its report writing sub-group. Jon is also an undergraduate researcher for EPA-funded clean water valuation research, which he is incorporating into his honor’s thesis. In his free time, Jon is a member of the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, and has a passion for connecting business & sustainability. Jon is graduating from UConn with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a second major in Economics. Jon’s post graduation plan is to obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and pursue employment that unifies his interests in sustainability strategy and financial analysis.



“Campus Cup” project brings free menstrual cups to UConn. Period.

The fight against plastic continues. Single-use plastic is pervasive in our lives and there is no exception for menstrual products. The products themselves and plastic packaging of tampons, pads, and panty liners generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. In the US alone, 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are thrown out and end up in landfills, sewage lines, and our oceans annually! 

Students Posing at USH Womxn's Health & Empowerment Fair
Emma MacDonald (left) and Natalie Roach (right) posing at the USG Womxn’s Health and Empowerment Fair at the Office of Sustainability booth!

Luckily, many different reusable products have been popping up as alternatives on the market. This movement has been led by empowered feminists looking to redefine the quality of products available and take down the stigma of periods while shifting away from these single-use menstrual products. You can find reusable cloth pads, period underwear, menstrual disks, menstrual cups and many more creative solutions and continued innovations!

OrganiCup, a women-led Danish menstrual cup company, is one such company focused both on empowering menstruators and tackling this menstrual waste problem. By providing silicone menstrual cups that are reusable for years and come in multiple sizes, this company is breaking barriers, destigmafying periods, and generating much less waste. 

Organicup has launched the “Campus Cup” program, an initiative to introduce their reusable menstrual cups to college students as a sustainable alternative to traditional menstrual products by providing students with free menstrual cups. Identified via our GreenMetric rating, UConn served as a pilot for this initiative.

USG Tampon Time volunteer opens an OrganiCup package to display a Size A menstrual cup to fellow student.
OrganiCups, with their minimal packaging, lined up, ready to be picked up and used by UConn menstruators!

The UConn Office of Sustainability brought the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Tampon Time program on board in order to effectively distribute 500 menstrual cups during USG’s Womxn’s* Health and Empowerment Fair on March 2nd, 2020 for the OrganiCup Campus Cup launch date!

During the Womxn’s Health and Empowerment Fair, excitement and chatter filled the Student Union Ballroom, as students and attendees engaged with different booths highlighting organizations catered towards supporting female/womxn students. At each booth, students could learn about how resources on and off campus connect sustainability, physical & mental health, sex, gender-based violence, intersectional identities, and other topics related to female health & empowerment. The Office of Sustainability even had our own booth with giveaways where we highlighted the cost of different menstrual products and the connections between climate justice, sexual assault, & female empowerment. The biggest draw to the fair, though, was by far the free menstrual cups given out, with students lining up out the door to pick up their very own.

The line for free menstrual cups was out the door for most of the event.

With the opportunity to try out one of the many reusable products on the market for free, menstruating college students on a budget are able to test something potentially out of their comfort zones without spending anything, all while getting one step closer to a more sustainable lifestyle and bringing sustainability to a part of their life that they may have never thought of. 

Students walked away that day excited and ready to try out their free menstrual cup! This was a wonderful reminder to support continued efforts to talk about periods, provide comfortable and cost-saving products & resources for menstruating students, and find creative opportunities to incorporate sustainability on the college campus. And this fair was just the start; there are many more menstrual cups that will be distributed at UConn, through the Women’s Center and in public bathrooms across campus alongside USG Tampon Time’s disposable menstrual products.

Keep your eyes open as OrganiCup launches their nation-wide Campus Cup program this fall! Feel free to reach out to the UConn Office of Sustainability with any questions.

To learn more about OrganiCup and the company goals/impact:

*Womxn: term used, especially in intersectional feminism, as a way to move away from patriarchal language and explicitly include non-cisgender women and women of color.

Meet the Interns!

Editor’s Note: Another year, another round of new interns. This year we have our largest intern team ever! Read on to learn about the amazing, passionate students we hired this semester.

Hope Dymond – Sophomore, Environmental Engineering

Hope is currently a sophomore studying Environmental Engineering with a minor in Human Rights. She came to UConn as salutatorian from Common Ground, an ecologically themed high school in New Haven, and is ready to not only build her technical skillset, but also to learn about new topics.  Since joining the office, she has helped design and edit the new Sustainability Activity Book, worked on the annual Green Metric Survey, and helped with Energy Use Intensity tracking. On campus she has been part of Horticulture Club, Alternative Break’s Immokalee trip, the Student Farmworker Alliance, UConn@COP, and UConn Survivor Spring 2019 (did she win? You’ll have to watch it on YouTube to find out!). In the upcoming year, she is committed to her plans to go spelunking, camping, and climbing with Outing Club. Any activity out in the sunlight is an activity Hope wants to get in on, and she is excited to explore the HEEP. Hope values creativity and, when she makes time for it, loves to paint portraits with watercolor. She tries to see the true learning value in every task, and while it can be tough, she enjoys the moments when things change her mind.




Lauren Pawlowski – Sophomore, Environmental Studies and Economics

Lauren is currently a sophomore at UConn double majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. Since arriving at UConn, she has been an active member/volunteer for EcoHusky, USG Sustainability Sub-Committee, UConn Club Track, Women and Minorities in Economics, and also secretary for UConn Club Pole Vault and the UConn Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA). Her favorite memories involving the OS so far include attending the Earth Day Spring Fling and Green Game Days and contributing to the Sustainability Student Activity Book. This past summer, she worked as a Laboratory Technician Intern for the Fairfield Water Pollution Control Facility collecting water samples and conducting chemistry analyses. For spring break 2019, she participated in the Community Outreach alternative break trip to Immokalee, FL which focused on migrant farmworker rights. Lauren is interested in green building design, renewable energy, sustainable business practices, reducing food waste, and fun plants. She looks forward to growing her windowsill collection of succulents and also attending COP25 in Santiago, Chile this winter as a UConn@COP Fellow. In her free time, you can find her hiking, biking, travelling, skiing, or running around on campus or on a UConn Outing Club trip. Lauren ran her first (and maybe last) half marathon this summer and looks forward to completing a Tough Mudder next summer. She also enjoys painting, reading, spending time with friends, seeing dogs, listening to acoustic guitar, and going to random UConn events. 



Harry Zehner – Junior, Political Science

Harry is a junior majoring in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Economics and Policy. He is dedicated to making the cities we live in more sustainable, through a focus on sustainable urban design, efficient transportation, social equity and democratized city planning processes. Harry has worked at the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (a state-wide environmental advocacy group), Sustainable CT (a municipal environmental certification program) and as a policy advisor on a New Haven mayoral campaign. Through these jobs, Harry has developed a range of skills, from developing and writing housing policy to researching statewide legislation. At UConn, Harry works as the Opinion Editor at the Daily Campus, where you can find his weekly column, and as the Program Director for Nathan Hale Homework Club, a middle-school tutoring program. In his spare time, Harry enjoys reading, hanging out with his friends, playing intramural soccer and recording his love-life podcast called (name). After graduation, Harry plans to work on policy in local elections, advising candidates on the deep connections between sustainability and housing, transportation, food, planning and equity. 




Maizey MabrySmith – Sophomore, Environmental Studies

Maizey Mabrysmith is a sophomore Environmental Studies major here at UConn. Prior to the start of her internship, Maizey participated in multiple sustainability events and projects around campus such as organized cleanups, Green Game Day and the Hartford Marathon. She hopes to increase participation in these incredible events and better engage the student body using her new perspective as an intern. Maizey is also a returning member of the EcoHouse learning community, this year serving as a floor mentor for incoming freshmen. Through these two new roles she hopes to provide environmentally-conscious students an outlet to make change. Maizey loves anything and everything outdoors, and spends her summers lifeguarding. For the past two years, she has worked as a Marine Patrol Officer for the Town of Columbia to implement and improve strategies for invasive species protection on Columbia Lake. Maizey has always had a strong passion for volunteer work and fulfills that by spending a large part of her free time at the Windham Region No-Freeze shelter. Maizey is excited for all that this year will bring in the office and is most looking forward to trailblazing the HEEP and improving signage to make the area more accessible to all of UConn’s nature lovers.


Green and Blue at UConn’s Football Green Game Day

Green Game Day was a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day for UConn football fans. The Huskies lost a close game on the field, but Mother Earth won outside the stadium where EcoHusky and EcoHouse volunteers, along with Office of Sustainability interns, took to the tailgating fields to collect cans and bottles from fans. Volunteers sporting blue Green Game Day shirts walked among the rows of cars, approaching UConn alumni, Connecticut locals and even some Illinois fans to help make their game day a bit greener. 

Some student volunteers even ventured into the spirited student lot, all in the name of recycling! Unsurprisingly, they emerged with more bags than any other tailgate area. 

In total, the volunteers collected 58 bags of recyclable bottles and cans. 

While most of the volunteers scoured the fields, others staffed the Office of Sustainability tent in the HuskyFest fan zone, quizzing fans on their environmental knowledge and giving out prizes for correct answers. One notable addition to the prize table this year was the new UConn Sustainability Activity Book. Our youngest fans (and a few older ones) jumped at the chance to color and learn. One excited young Husky was heard walking away from the tent exclaiming: “Dad look! Jonathan’s on every page!”

From baby boomers to generation Z, all ages were equal parts enthralled, enthused and stumped by the intern’s questions. At the end of their experience at the tent, all participants had learned something about the environment and UConn’s sustainability efforts. 

Once inside, fans were treated to a recycling PSA from none other than Jonathan the Husky. Likely due to the inspiring recycling video, the Huskies got off to a strong start, scoring the first 13 points. Alas, it was not to last, as Illinois came storming back to win 31-23. 

While UConn’s first loss of the season was disappointing, it can teach us a valuable lesson about recycling: Care for the environment must be sustained, or else we risk losing all our progress. And vice versa: No matter what your habits are, you can always turn it around and become an EcoWarrior.

Green Game Day was a roaring success for all involved. We hope to see you during the basketball season at Gampel, or next year at the Rent!


Meet the Interns

Editor’s note: OS interns are integral to the success of the program and we couldn’t be more proud of them! Read below to learn about more about the interns hired in spring 2018.

Emma MacDonald – Sophomore, Natural Resources

Emma MacDonald is a sophomore in the Natural Resources department with a focus in sustainable forest management, which aligns with her avid love of hiking. After two inspirational geoscience classes last fall, Emma has decided to pursue a minor in Geoscience as well. Since arriving at UConn, Emma has been an active member of EcoHusky, volunteering at events like Green Game Day before becoming an intern. She is the Vice President of the Forestry and Wildlife club, where her responsibilities include planning meetings and events, like hiking trips and maple syrup production classes. In addition to her environmental passions, Emma has always loved theatre, performing in over 25 shows throughout her career. Her favorites to perform are Guys and Dolls, Footloose, and The Music Man, while her favorite soundtracks are Les Miserables, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked. Within the OS, Emma is our social media coordinator as well as our videographer; look out for her many posts promoting events and other OS news along with exciting videos, like this one training Recycling Auditors! So far, her favorite memories with the OS are 2018’s Earth Day Spring Fling, and this fall’s football Green Game Day where her video of the “Goodest Boy in all of Connecticut,” Jonathan XIV, teaching UConn Nation how to recycle was debuted.


Matthew McKenna – Junior, Environmental Engineering

Matthew McKenna is currently a junior studying Environmental Engineering. In the office, Matt has worked on several different projects, including the annual Storrs campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory, creating a LEED building database, and improving the bikeability of campus. Last summer, Matt worked as an engineering intern at the Drinking Water Section of the CT Department of Public Health. While there, he was responsible for ensuring water systems complied with the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) & the Safe Drinking Water Act, researching water treatment methods for Legionella, and maintaining a database of water reservoirs around the state. On campus, Matt is a student with the Connecticut Brownfield Initiative, through which he has written an EPA proposal grant for the town of Stafford and is currently working on creating a comprehensive brownfield inventory for the south central region of Connecticut. This summer he plans on interning with Arconic in Davenport, Iowa. He will be responsible for keeping track of Arconic’s emissions and environmental footprint while coming up with ways for the factory to become more sustainable. As a hobby, Matt enjoys camping and hiking, and is excited to work on UConn’s HEEP trails later this semester.


Charlotte Rhodes – Junior, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Charlotte Rhodes is a junior at UConn studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies. Since joining the office, her projects have included writing for the blog, working on social media outreach, leading the newsletter production as editor, and assisting in the UConn@COP program. This past summer, Charlotte was a CAPAL Public Service Intern and worked with the U.S. Forest Service as a Sustainability Operations, Climate Change, and Wildlife Ecology Intern in California. Her many tasks included documenting and writing about the intersectionality of climate change, developing an Electric Vehicle Charging Process Guide, spearheading a Greening Fire initiative, and summarizing literature about prey species of the California Spotted Owl. Charlotte is passionate about public service, building relationships, climate change, and research. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in entomology with a focus on disease vectors, hoping to eventually facilitate research at the nexus of climate change and public health. In addition to being an OS intern, Charlotte is part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, a UConn@COP24 Fellow, and a member of EcoHusky. She is meticulous about staying organized, and doesn’t go anywhere without her planner! In her free time, Charlotte enjoys hiking, fishing, singing, exploring new places, crafting, and playing with her dog, Violet.


Natalie Roach – Sophomore, Environmental Science

Natalie Roach is a sophomore Environmental Sciences and Human Rights double major at UConn, integrating her passion for these two fields. In the office, she applies her interest in social justice issues, collaboration of ideas, and environmental conservation in her projects which include writing and co-editing the office blog, social media outreach, the office social justice initiative, and organizing for Earth Day Spring Fling. An active student on campus, Natalie is an officer of Revolution Against Rape, a cultural center discussion group facilitator, a member of the USG Sustainability Subcommittee, and a participant in Community Outreach’s alternative breaks. She is also part of a National Science Foundation research project focused on sustainable development in Ethiopia, and is doing research on the history of housing discrimination in Hartford for a traveling exhibition. Last summer, she worked on coordinating a high school internship program that introduced students to the water utility industry and the importance of water resources as program coordinator at Regional Water Authority. Outside of UConn, she is a dedicated member of the CT Sierra Club Political Committee. Natalie’s drive to combat inextricably linked social and environmental issues is rooted in finding community-based, inclusive, and just solutions. She hopes to carry this mindset into a professional career in environmental law, nonprofit organizations, or corporate social responsibility work. In her free time, you can catch her going on hiking adventures, playing lacrosse, at a hockey game, attending environmental conferences, baking, talking about social and political issues with peers, or spending quality time with her friends.


Mara Tu – Sophomore, Environmental Science

Mara Tu is a sophomore Environmental Sciences and Urban & Community Studies student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. At the OS, she has brought enthusiasm to all of her projects including Green Game Days, EcoMadness, RecycleThon, and has contributed content to the webpage. Mara’s values of open dialogue, the spread of ideas, and encouragement of communal energy are reflected in her work in the office and on campus. Outside of the OS, she is the treasurer of UConn’s EcoHusky, a team leader on the UConn alternative break to Birmingham, Alabama focused on civil rights and urban poverty, as well as a member of the USG Sustainability Subcommittee and ChinaCare. Her interests in the environmental field include conservation, local planning, urban systems, urban farms, and social equity. Currently, she is also in the UConn Climate Corps, an independent study program where students work with local municipalities to recommend potential adaptations to climate change, and is working on a history of housing discrimination in Hartford exhibit. She enjoys working on crossword puzzles (but rarely finishing them), crafting, hanging out with friends, engaging in political and social conversation, napping, taking photos, and dancing and singing to her favorite musicians!