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Sustainability News

September 9, 2019

Casey Rapacki stands smiling in front of treeMoved by the beautiful scenery she witnessed during a hike, Casey Rapacki decided then and there to dedicate her life to protecting the planet and its species.

“I love our planet, but I fight for social, economic and environmental health for my love of living beings,” Rapacki said. “The planet will continue on, and I want to make sure that we thrive along with it for years to come.”

Casey Rapacki is a junior at Arizona State University pursuing a bachelor in sustainability, a minor in communications and a certificate in environmental education. In the following Q&A, get acquainted with Rapacki, her love for the planet and her work at ASU (including ways other students can get involved!).

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

Answer: I am from southeast Michigan (outside of Detroit) and I love to travel! I have been to almost every state in the U.S., and I've been to Italy, too. I am hoping to make it out to Costa Rica with a study abroad group in the near future!

Sustainability is such an important way of life to me, which is why I came to ASU to pursue my studies here. Growing up in a place where they laugh at recycling not only fueled my fire but it showed me how little people know about our impact on our planet.

One fun fact about me is that I wasn't born in a hospital but a moving CAR — I just couldn't wait for life to start!

Group of ASU sustainability students picking up trash on desert hikeQ: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

A: I have had many "aha" moments that have built my everlasting love for sustainability, but I would say one of the key factors was going up north in summer and winter my whole life. If you've ever heard "summertime in Northern Michigan" by Kid Rock, then you know exactly what I mean! Seeing the beautiful, untouched land that roams aimlessly into the horizon alongside our country’s rich Native American history just struck me one day... I actually started crying in the middle of a hike! That is when I decided that protecting our species, among all others, and planet was the only way I could live my life with peace of mind. I take pride in fighting for equality on all fronts.

Q: Why did you choose ASU/the School of Sustainability?

A: I chose ASU because of its fantastic sustainability program — and the weather, of course. I visited many schools in Michigan and Colorado, but decided that this was the place I could call home, and man, I definitely made the right choice!

Q: What’s been your favorite class (or favorite part of being an ASU/SOS student) so far and why?

Group of 7 sustainability students standing together for photo in atriumA: Quite honestly, the further I get through college, the more I love my classes, especially with sustainability. I love ethics and they have always played a part in my courses. One of my favorites was systems thinking, because it showed how smaller parts of our world are intertwined with the bigger picture. ADVICE: try to take it with Michael Schoon — he's AMAZING!

Q: Can you tell us about your time with Campus Student Sustainability Initiatives?

A: I am currently the president of CSSI; before that, I was the director of student engagement and before that I was happily a new member of a sustainability club that supports conversation, student-driven ideas, volunteer opportunities and many chances to make amazing friendships with those who share the same passions on campus! Feel free to drop in Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. to take part in a project, event, volunteering or simply a good chance to discuss sustainability throughout today's world.

Q: What do you hope to achieve as president of CSSI?

A: As president, I hope to continue our inviting environment and expand our involvement with different areas and different types of students on campus.

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

A: I hope to become a sustainability consultant for businesses or agriculture.  Quite honestly, that is what I have in mind now, but things are always changing! I also have interest in education of professional groups on sustainable actions.

Group of ASU sustainability students picking up trash on hikeQ: What does sustainability mean to you?

A: To me, sustainability means living like we intend to stay.

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

A: I think studying abroad is a very important part of being at ASU, so I would recommend taking a look at the Walton Global Sustainability Studies Scholarship for sustainability students. It provides a lot of financial help and is a great honor to have!