February 26, 2019
Hillary Junglas, a senior in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University who’s double majoring in supply chain management, is driven to apply sustainability to the business world. And with all she’s learned and experienced through ASU, she’s on the right track to do just that.
“I love the School of Sustainability and could not be happier with my experience as a sustainability student,” Junglas said. “The people, the classes, the experiences available — everything motivates me every day to follow my passion and make a difference with my degree. I look forward to graduation and where life will take me, but I will always credit the School of Sustainability for the inspiration and support I needed to succeed.”
Read Junglas’s Q&A below to learn about the various opportunities she has taken advantage of at ASU, and what sustainability means to her.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Answer: I am from a pretty rural area just outside of Cleveland, Ohio (home of the classic “river on fire” pollution issue), where some kids would show up on their ATVs to school as a joke, or even one time, a tractor. I graduated from high school and took the risk of coming to ASU, where I had zero friends, zero family and zero knowledge of the culture. Thankfully, throughout my time here, I’ve met some of the most inspiring students, professors, faculty and sustainability professionals who push me everyday to do better and make the difference I hope to through a sustainability career.
Q: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?
A: I grew up thinking I could communicate with my pets, and that led me to believe I had a cool, unique connection to nature. Granted, I was like eight at the time, but this perceived connection to the environment has been an integral part of who I’ve become over the years. I didn’t think it was fair that humanity could put SO much pressure on our natural resources, our wildlife, and our atmosphere and just distance ourselves from the consequences of our actions.
I knew I wanted to make an impact with my career and make the world a better place through improving environmental health. I was in the market for a happy medium between pursuing a research-based environmental science degree and a calculus-heavy environmental engineering degree, and this is how I settled on sustainability. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right for me and my interests.
Q: Why did you choose ASU/the School of Sustainability?
A: ASU’s School of Sustainability was a must after I discovered the major and did some research. First of all, living at ASU is basically like living out a four-year vacation with sunny skies and palm trees, quick and easy access to beautiful hiking trails, and short drives to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Second, and most importantly, the School of Sustainability has generated a well-established curriculum that is developing constantly to innovate with the changing world. As the first sustainability school, it is a model for other schools. Why go anywhere else when you can learn from the best?
Q: What’s been your favorite class so far and why?
A: I have loved many, many of my classes. I’ll mention my top three: SOS 324 Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology (track requirement for my Sustainable Energy, Materials, and Technology track); GCU 364 Energy in the Global Arena (track elective), and IND 242 Materials and Design (track elective). I learned everything from the concept of life cycle assessment, global energy systems and politics, as well as how plastics have shaped our modern world. The professors were also engaging, entertaining and beyond supportive. Shout-out to Dr. Hanna Breetz, Dr. Mike Pasqualetti, and Professor Joseph Velasquez!
Q: Can you tell us more about your extracurricular experiences?
A: As a freshman, I was basically told, “Get involved. Now.” I wanted to make some friends, find some professional development opportunities, and above all, help make a difference. I joined many clubs freshman year, but the one that stuck out the longest was GreenLight Solutions. I began as a member and then rose through the ranks to become a project lead, then vice president of operations (a.k.a. manage the money and schedule the meeting spaces), then president of the organization. It was a thrill, as I gained an incredible amount of experience with leadership and project management, as well as applied sustainability education.
These experiences and connections made through GreenLight launched me into getting a solid job as a First Year Success Coach at ASU, getting a School of Sustainability Ambassadorship position, and multiple internships in both sustainability and supply chain. I joined the School of Sustainability Academy most recently, which I highly recommend, as the organization helps focus your ideas and turn them into actionable goals, understand your motivations and apply them to your education, as well as boost your professional development by building connections and mission statement. My advice is to join BEFORE your senior year because, oh boy did I miss out!
Q: How do you envision applying sustainability to your future career?
A: I expect to go into corporate sustainability, as I am also majoring in supply chain management. I feel that businesses have a massive footprint and thus, a massive impact on the environment and people’s lives. I believe that I can make the most significant change with my degrees by working within the present systems of society. I hope to work on improving product design to consider the full life cycle, establish zero waste and net-zero energy operations within manufacturing/offices, and encourage a cultural shift towards acknowledging sustainability as a critical business tool. Luckily for me, I am not the only one who thinks sustainability is valuable to the bottom line, so I believe many opportunities exist for applying sustainability to my future career.
Q: Have you received any scholarships or grants you’d like to talk about?
A: I received the Sustainability Champions Scholarship my freshman year, which, along with a merit scholarship, made out-of-state tuition comparable to my in-state tuition back home. Since that scholarship is only one year, I quickly learned to apply for every scholarship I could to keep my tuition manageable, and ASU has great resources for helping students seeking financial aid.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you?
A: Sustainability to me means creating a better tomorrow through the actions we take today. Sustainability means efficiency: Reducing wasted energy and materials, reducing inequalities and injustices within our business practices, and replenishing our resources as we consume them. Landfills, non-renewable materials, and wasteful processes are a thing of the past, and thinking sustainably is how we can move forward to a healthier future for our planet.