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Sustainability News

March 4, 2020

Inspired by a vegan documentary, Victoria Erran decided to make the life-altering decision to study sustainability.

"I had just watched one of those famous vegan documentaries where it talks about how much land, water and energy it takes to grow animals for agricultural purposes," Erran said. "I was in shock, and I wanted to learn why no one was talking about this!"

The passion she felt at that moment remained with her and propelled her through Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, from which she graduated in the fall of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability. Continue reading to learn more about Erran and her experiences at ASU.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

Answer: In a sustainability related course I learned that more than 40% of the food that we produce in the U.S. states go wasted — all while millions of homes are food insecure. This seemed like an obvious opportunity to strengthen efficiencies within our food system, but it turns out it is a very complex issue to tackle.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Professor Schoon, Professor Hallie Eakin, and Professor Dan Childers had memorable classes where I felt I learned the greatest amount. It’s hard to reduce this to one person.

Q:  What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: How you perform in school will reflect how you will perform in the real world. Build good habits now so that you are prepared to excel in life after school.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot in school was either at the Engrained Restaurant's pizza bar top or outside on their patio when the weather was nice. I can see the aeroponic tower gardens from there!

Q:  What was your experience as a sustainability intern for Aramark?

A: It was my first job where I felt that I was required to push myself past what I thought I was capable of. No one really wants to grow up, but this internship helped me realize that I was ready to grow up and able to transition into a capable professional. Most of my work was focused around changing student behaviors around food loss and food waste, and this is what magnified and fueled my interest in the topic.

Q: Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans?

A: I plan on completing my part-time fellowship with the Maricopa County Food Systems Coalition, where I am planning events and coordinating meetings and communications between work groups and committees. I serve as their Food Waste and Loss Work Group Chair, along-side J.D., an ASU alumni who owns local small business Recycled City LLC. I just began working part-time for his company as a new customer and sales manager and plan to go full-time this summer!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would tackle food loss and waste through collaborative partnerships and behavior change.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add? 

A: I would like to add that the changes needed to save humanity from ourselves require a radical shift in our relationships to ourselves and others. Once we understand this truth, we will no longer treat our Earth with such disrespect.