Read what other college students are doing and get inspired to take action!
Kelsey Zlevor, a recent environmental science graduate from the University of Iowa is leaving the campus a greener place than when she arrived. In the past four years, she has spearheaded many sustainable campus initiatives in her role as sustainability liaison for the University of Iowa Student Government.
She initiated tray-less dining, water-bottle filling stations, and the replacement of trash cans with recycling bins. Zlevor also founded and continues to coordinate the Greek Energy Challenge, an annual challenge among the Greek houses on campus that encourages students to reduce their consumption of energy.
An English major to begin with, Kelsey switched majors after taking Intro to Environmental Science the first year and enrolled in the Sustainability Certificate program. Next she will be attending the University of Oregon’s graduate program in Community and Regional Planning/Sustainable Development.
“My work has been so important to me because it connects me to a larger sense of community and humanity. My favorite aspect of environmental work is that it enables people of all races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds to get involved, and I think that’s a very powerful thing. “ Read more about Kelsey here.
Jamie Stallman, a recent graduate from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, as a student worker for the Center for Sustainable Communities worked to reduce Luther’s waste stream by administering the Bargain Barn Sale to repurpose items that the college no longer needs. The quarterly sale has reduced the amount of items going to the landfill and provided usable goods to community members who need them. This effort reduces greenhouse gases from the landfill and reduces emissions by reusing items.
“It’s always affirming when you can see how large of an impact one person can make,” Jamie says, “At the end of the sale we have repurposed nearly an entire barn full of items that the college no longer wants. Sometimes it feels like we’re all fighting a losing battle, but seeing these successes encourages me. It’s these little things that allow me to remember why I do what I do.”
Jamie also served as president of SPOKES, a student bicycle club that encourages bicycles as an alternative form of transportation. They’ve worked with the Sustainability Center at Luther to install a Dero Fixit Station on campus for student use with bike repair tools and a bike pump. The coolest thing they did under Jamie’s tenure was an Alley Cat race, which was a night time scavenger hunt through Decorah.
Jamie is motivated by the desire to see future generations enjoy creation as he has, and the hands-on work for the college has given him the opportunity to really walk the talk. He also credits a professor, Jim Martin-Schramm, with opening up his perspective on sustainability.
He double majored in Religion and Biology with hopes someday of teaching religion with a focus on Environmental Ethics and Comparative Theology. Jamie is currently at Union Theological Seminary in New York studying interreligious engagement and social ethics with a concentration on earth ethics.