From a very young age, sustainability and green living have been very important parts of my life. In 2004, I was born and so was my father’s non-profit organization, FRESH New London. My father founded the organization and both my parents worked for FRESH in efforts to provide food security and community gardens for our low-income community. I spent a good amount of my childhood in nature– whether it be in the community garden, in our backyard, our home garden, or on a hike in the woods. At home, we had very little single-use items and anything intended to be single-use (like Ziploc bags) would be re-used many times. My mom would walk us to school every morning on her way to work instead of driving and we would always shop at Goodwill instead of buying new clothes. My parents taught me to respect our Earth and throughout my life, both spending time in nature and sustainability remained a huge part of my life.
When it came time to pick a college, I chose Champlain knowing Vermont was one of the greenest states with beautiful scenery all around. My first semester at Champlain I worked for CS&S as a student outreach liaison. I was able to educate myself more about fair trade and other sustainability opportunities on campus.
This semester, I decided to work as an Eco-Rep instead. The two positions are similar but the team dynamic and residence halls focus drew me to join the Eco-Rep team. I am so grateful I made this decision because I have learned so much about sustainability this semester, especially about sustainability in the city of Burlington. Every week, we have amazing guest speakers that educate us on different sustainability topics. I also learn so much from my fellow team members and I believe our team is making a real difference on campus. I would motivate anyone who wants to get more into sustainability or get involved in Eco-Reps to not be afraid at all and to not underestimate yourself. You don’t have to be worried about not having done enough sustainable things in the past. Every small effort counts and it is never too late to decide you want to incorporate sustainability into your life! 🙂
Written by Simone Lerner, March 2023