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Sustainability News

September 16, 2019

Andie WilkersonAlthough she was raised to love and care for the environment, Andie Wilkerson almost didn’t study sustainability.

“Going into college, I didn't even realize sustainability was an option,” Wilkerson said. “I applied to ASU intending to be an environmental engineering major, but two weeks before orientation, I discovered the school of sustainability through the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability's website.” Wilkerson read about the program and by the time she was done, she had decided to change her major.

Wilkerson is a junior at Arizona State University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in sustainability with a focus on ecosystems sustainability and a minor in geological sciences. Continue reading to get acquainted with Wilkerson and her favorite things about being a School of Sustainability student.

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

Answer: I am an Arizona native born and raised. My parents actually met hiking the Grand Canyon, so they have always instilled a love for the earth and all of its systems in both myself and my brother. We would always go on family trips that took us to the diverse ecosystems of the Southwest, and through this constant exploration of the natural systems that surround us, I developed a great desire to learn how humans both interact with these systems and become a part of them.

I tend to be drawn toward learning as much as I can about a variety of subjects. It is for this reason that, even here at ASU, I have taken classes like Wood 1, Myths and Mysteries of Tarot, and Earth Sciences of Arizona and the Southwest. Each of these classes brought me a deeper understanding of the world and, unsurprisingly, each found a way to weave themselves into the concept of sustainability.

Woman standing in valley with forested mountains in backgroundQ: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

A: I have always been interested in doing something sustainability related, but going into college, I didn't even realize sustainability was an option. I applied to ASU intending to be an environmental engineering major, but two weeks before orientation, I discovered the school of sustainability through the Global Institute of Sustainability's website. Reading about the core competencies and the great things that the graduates of the school have gone on to do immediately clicked in my brain, and I knew that this was going to be my home at ASU.

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

A: Thus far my favorite class has been Dr. Melnick's sustainable urban dynamics class. Through that class, I learned how to articulate myself and be able to engage with others on sustainability issues and solutions. Both Dr. Melnick and all of his guest speakers offered a great breadth of knowledge and experiences that I have helped mold my ideas surrounding sustainability. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to participate in such a dynamic and motivating class.

Q: Can you tell us more about your time with the Honor Society for Sustainability?

A: I joined the Honor Society for Sustainability at the end of my freshman year as I was looking for more ways to be connected to fellow sustainability students. When I saw they were in search of a secretary, I thought that I would throw my name into the hat, since I was looking to be more involved with the clubs I was currently a part of. Since joining the team, I have been able to make great connections both personally and professionally. Our whole eBoard this year is full of fantastic people who are excited to engage sustainability students with professional opportunities, so I am truly looking forward to a great year as a part of the HSS team.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

A: To me, sustainability exists as this interwoven idea that extends throughout society. Even where sustainable systems have yet to be achieved, there are opportunities and ideas spreading. This interconnectedness that sustainability brings is one of the things that draws me to the field. The world seems so diverse and disconnected at times, but in reality, we are all just riding through this life together, and trying to do our best for both those of us alive today and those who will inhabit the Earth in generations to come.