Green, clean, and new on the scene: Meet summer’s Sustainability Office staff

SO Summer Staff

Every year around April, the University of Toronto’s Sustainability Office sends out its feelers to recruit the “next generation” of talented Work-Study student employees. While they won’t be “trekking” through space in the near future, this summer’s crew is sure to include a few stars. Let’s learn a bit more about these socialites and what brought them to the Sustainability Office.

We begin with two students who, speaking of socialites, are no strangers to the social world. Shonali Lakhani and Amy Chen are the Social Media Assistants this summer; they will work to increase the online presences of and deliver relevant content for the Sustainability Office’s platforms. Neuroscience Major Lakhani and Political Science Specialist Chen will look to blend their outreach experience together – harmonizing should be easy, as Chen is a volunteer violinist at a hospital!

Meanwhile, Psychology Research Specialist and Environmental Studies Major Veronica Badali is working to gauge the campus’s level of sustainability literacy. The results will inform the office on how it might improve efforts to involve the U of T community in environmental challenges. Badali, a self-described polymath, will rely on her extensive interests to connect with various parties and groups.
The Sustainability Office has many upcoming projects – just ask Programs Assistant Brianna Guertin. The International Relations Major will assist in the planning of events such as the Green Champions initiative and the Green Gala. Initially inspired to action by a conservation biology course, Guertin joined the Sustainability Office last year in the hopes of continuing the promotion of sustainable living. She was even born on World Penguin Day, proving that it was fate for her to claim the title of environmental defender.

Another project this year is the Sustainability Yearbook, a task charged to Project Assistant Yalda Mehran. An International Relations and Economics student, Mehran believes in the importance of environmental awareness. She hopes more people will soon be fluent in a green-conscious language but, just in case, she has also taken Turkish, Spanish, Japanese, and French lessons.

Language is, of course, a large factor in communication: Eco-Journalists Sarah Niedoba and Alex Wichert will be leaned on for Sustainability Office articles. The former an English Specialist and the latter an English Major, they have both worked as student journalists and will look to emulate some of the ideals of their respective role models: Niedoba admires journalist and 26th Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson and Wichert respects Rise Against frontman and activist Tim McIlrath.
While language has the power to enact change, so too, apparently, do stickers. Biological Chemistry Specialist Tanvi Bhatt was prompted to join the Sustainability Office after seeing the “It’s Greener Here” stickers across campus. As Green Suite Assistant, she will assist Sustainability Project Coordinator Dione Dias to promote offices to go green and keep a record of their efficiency.
They may be green, but they certainly come with experience. Welcome to the team, Summer 2015 Sustainability Office students!

By: Alex Wichert