Since I started working at the OEP in May I’ve learned a lot and worked on a lot of different projects. I expected to be busy, and I expected gain a new perspective on how sustainability works at UConn. What I didn’t expect was how sustainability would change the way I see EVERYTHING!
When I walk through campus, or through town, I notice every time I see a trash can without a recycling bin next to it. On my walk from my other office in Oak hall to where I park, there are 8 trashcans without recycling containers within easy reach. I ended up carrying a soda can all the way to my car so that I could recycle it at home, rather than putting it in the trash. When I went to a conference in Boston, I stayed at a Doubletree Hotel and appreciated that their trash bins actually had separate containers for trash and recycling (and mentioned it to the front desk). When I see someone go to throw something recyclable away, I try to stop them and direct them to the correct bin.
When people complain about something (like they lack a recycling bin in their office or at the band field) or ask questions about something, like they don’t know why our power plant is called the co-gen, I have solutions and answers.
It’s really exciting learning how everything actually runs at UConn, and it’s really empowering to be able to help address problems, or answer questions, instead of just sitting around talking about something.
I’ve been doing a bit of traveling this summer. I visited family in various places in Ohio, and next I’m heading to Chicago at the end of the month for the American Political Science Association annual meeting. As I’ve made my travel plans, I wondered whether it was better to fly or drive. I decided to investigate!
I found a calculator online to answer my question.
Here’s my scenario – my husband and son were going to the beach in North Carolina with my in-laws for a week. They needed a car while there, so they drove. I was then meeting them in Columbus to visit with my family, and then we were driving up to Cleveland to visit some friends and more in-laws, then driving back to Connecticut. I was originally planning to fly down to Columbus, but then I thought about how much carbon a plane emits. Would it be greener if I drove myself to Ohio?
Using the above calculator, I figured out that with our backup car (which only gets about 26 mpg on the highway), driving alone, it would be slightly more environmentally friendly to fly to Columbus. However, the big carbon savings comes when I join my husband and child and we do all the rest of our driving in one car. If I brought our other car down, we would have to drive two cars back up to Connecticut – super wasteful!
Heading to Chicago later this month, it’s much better to drive than to fly with three people in the car!
Next time you plan a trip, figure out whether it’s better to fly or drive (or even better, take a train or a bus!)
Today is my last official day working for the Office of Environmental Policy as the Sustainability Coordinator! I’ve really enjoyed working in support of environmental initiatives at UConn. The Green Game Days will always be a highlight for me, engaging Husky fans from all over with recycling, games, and giveaways. The students who attended our Climate Action Plan summit last fall were an inspiration, sharing their hopes for future developments on campus in support of carbon neutrality. And as always, our Earth Day Spring Fling event was unforgettable, particularly meeting all the local vendors and students who share our ambitions for widespread sustainability.
My short term goals are to finish writing and presenting my thesis, a resource economic study on coastal and marine spatial planning in Long Island Sound. Shortly afterward, I will travel to Belgium for an internship with the Institute for European Environmental Policy for the summer. There is a team of environmental economists working in Brussels in support of biodiversity protection, and I will provide support through marine-focused economics research.
I am excited for the next chapter in my life, but I will always cherish my time at UConn and with the OEP. I would like to thank all of the interns I worked with – Eric, Manisha, the Emilys, Alex, Skyler, Katie, and Meredith – for being so dedicated and making my job so much easier. Thank you to Rich and Cherie for believing in me from the start, and for Paul, Jason, and Stephanie for being so supportive of the sustainability team. And as always, a huge thank you to my fellow coordinator Laura – I couldn’t have done it without you.
Keep in touch everyone. Go Huskies!