The following is a short essay I wrote during my final semester in the Sustainability Seminar class at the University of Georgia. Enjoy!
Today at Semester in Review, someone asked me if I was going to be in the seminar class next semester. I said of course, because why wouldn’t I be?
And then I realized that was wrong.
It’s clearly weird for me to think about this being my last semester in the sustainability seminar. I feel like we just got here, that the semester just started, and that there’s no way that we are about to take our final exams. Some of us are graduating, some of us are just starting out, and some of us haven’t even started yet.
I am excited that I will be at UGA for another year and a half to see how many great individuals join this amazing program; however, I am sad that I won’t be quite as connected to the community directly.
It’s a little interesting how I got caught up in all of this sustainability stuff. I always knew that I was interested, but really the only reason I applied was that I heard Sam Eberhard talking about it during a program that Bag the Bag did at my residence hall. The next day I signed up, thinking there was no way they’d let a journalism major into the mix of environmentalists. Luckily, I was wrong.
Now, I am a board member for Bag the Bag, intern for the Office of Sustainability, finishing up my sustainability certificate, pursuing and environmental law minor, and feeling way more connected to my sustainability/environmentalist friends than some of my journalism peers. I’ve managed to make almost every journalism project about the environment or sustainability, interviewed my inspiration, Mary Landers, an environmental journalist, and making conscious choices every day to help preserve the earth.
I know that this is the right thing to do. One day during the seminar, we were asked to describe the sustainability program in one word, and I went with “ethical.” That word has stuck with me, and it’s the first thing I go to whenever anyone asks me why I am the way I am: why I take a few minutes to sort trash in Tate, why I collect people’s plastic bags in my journalism classes when we receive new equipment, why I chose to ride the bus instead of using the parking pass I paid for.
Acting sustainably is the right thing to do. It makes complete sense, and it doesn’t make sense to act any other way. Acting sustainably is in the public interest, it’s in our personal interests, and it’s in the environment’s interest. If you aren’t going to do it for someone else, do it for yourself.
I’m glad I sat down in my residence hall freshman year and added the certificate on a whim. I’m glad I went to my first sustainability orientation in the Founder’s Garden house, talked with Bailey Shea, emailed people at the Office of Sustainability, interviewed students doing sustainable things, and shared their stories. It’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad I can continue to do it.