Erin Thesing '10
What do the Ecological Advocates do?
We are a student group that advances a culture of conscientiousness and sustainability within and beyond UNH. Each fall, we help organize the Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge in which on-campus halls and apartments compete to reduce energy and water use. Student “energy captains” encourage their fellow residents to turn off lights, use common spaces for studying, use a dryer rack, or unplug appliances, for example. We also work with UNH Dining on its waste reduction campaigns, and next spring we will help UNH participate in Recyclemania, a nationwide waste competition among colleges and universities.
What role do students play in advancing sustainability?
Our generation faces some of the greatest challenges in history, and like those before us we must strive to be innovative in our solutions. Trite as it may be, I refer to the words of Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Defying the often unfair label of apathetic, my generation has stepped up to the plate. We will not be able to fight the climate crisis by falling back on old strategies. To move forward, the first and most important step is to change ourselves. When we lose sight of our individual impact, we also lose sight of our individual power. Turning off that light switch may not seem like a substantial difference when your neighbor is still driving her SUV from West Edge to the Dimond Library, but when we encourage others to do the same real and radical change begins.
What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?
My environmental consciousness was fostered in my youth through long hikes in the Alaska wilderness with my father. Wherever we lived, he made sure to teach my sister and me respect and appreciation for nature.