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Sustainability News

October 14, 2019

Andrew KennedyA quest to merge his passions for social justice and environmentalism led Andrew Kennedy to Arizona State University's School of Sustainability.

"I initially wanted to study conservation biology in high school because I absolutely loved learning about ecosystems, animal biology and how to protect valuable species," Kennedy said. "However, I was also very passionate about politics and justice."

In the School of Sustainability, Andrew found a home that combined his love for both. Andrew Kennedy is a junior at ASU studying sustainability with a minor in cultural anthropology. He is a member of Barrett, the Honors College. Continue reading to get acquainted with Andrew and his experience at the School of Sustainability.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? 

Answer: I’m a Phoenix local. Both of my parents, my brother and sister are Sun Devil grads as well as many other family members, so maroon and gold blood runs deep. Currently, I’m a community assistant at Vista Del Sol, an ambassador at the School of Sustainability, vice president of Sustainabilibuddies, treasurer of Honor Society for Sustainability, and I also operate the first residential community composting program at ASU with one of my coworkers at Vista. I’m very busy but feeling very fulfilled as well.

Q: Why did you choose the School of Sustainability?

A: I initially wanted to study conservation biology in high school because I absolutely loved learning about ecosystems, animal biolog, and how to protect valuable species. However, I was also very passionate about politics and justice. I wanted to find a program that recognized but also valued the intersection of environmentalism and social justice, and sustainability fit that perfectly. It also happened that the best School of Sustainability in the nation was just 20 minutes away in my backyard.

Q: What’s been your favorite class so far and why?

A: My favorite class I have ever taken in the School of Sustainability, and honestly anywhere, has been International Development and Sustainability with Neda Movahed. This class was not just extremely educational but also completely changed my perspective about sustainability. The creative avenues that Neda chose to use to give information but also allow us to really digest that information were truly innovative. That class needs to be a required course for all SOS students.

Andrew Kennedy, fifth from left, with School of Sustainability students at Camp SOS
Q: What is your favorite part of being a School of Sustainability Ambassador?

A: If you would have asked me this question last semester or even a few weeks ago I would have said something like, “I love connecting to new students and recruiting for a school that I love.” And while that is true, my favorite part has been the connections I have been able to make with students in SOS. SOS camp and facilitating my SOS 201 class has been so rewarding and fun. I love that I have been able to play a role in shaping SOS culture.

Q: How do you envision applying sustainability to your future career?

A: I have a few ideas about places where I would love to work that span from government to nonprofits to corporate America. I would love to work at the United Nations Human Rights Commission and work on advocating for disenfranchised groups of people either affected by climate change or redlining. I am still passionate about ecosystems and think it would be so cool to work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium doing public education or promotion of sustainable fishing practices. I would also love to do corporate sustainability at my favorite company, Lush Cosmetics. It would be so cool to help create some sustainable products that could help reduce waste in the self-care and cosmetic industry while being supported by a company that already values sustainability.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

A: In the simplest way, sustainability to me is about being responsible. To have a just economy we have to have an ethical society and to have an ethical society we have to treat our environment with respect. Sustainability should never be seen as an “end goal,” it is a process that is always evolving and developing. Understanding sustainability is understanding how it applies to everything and how to market it to everyone.

Q: Have you received any scholarships or grants you’d like to talk about?

A: My coworker Amelia Kovacs and I won the Changemaker Community Action Sustainability Grant (now called Woodside Community Action Grant) for our Community Composting Program at Vista del Sol. We’re so happy that even through challenges, especially from senior leadership in ASU housing and Barrett, we will be able to start this program up again soon and help make a difference in our community. We’re also so thankful that Changemaker recognized and understands how valuable this project can be.

I’ve also won the Excellence in Recognition award and scholarship from the National Residence Hall Honorary.