April 23, 2014
School of Sustainability senior Alexis Roeckner began her ASU experience in pursuit of a journalism degree. Though the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism’s reputable program appealed to her passion for writing and ambition to be published one day, she realized during her first semester that her interests lie elsewhere.
“I had heard about the School of Sustainability while I was still in high school, but because I’d already been accepted into the journalism program, I decided to admire from afar,” Roeckner says. “I discovered that, while the journalism program was great, it just wasn’t a fit for me. So I began the process of switching over to sustainability and didn’t look back.”
After jokingly attributing her change of heart to seeing the film Avatar, Roeckner says it was watching the world’s problems worsen and experiencing a strong desire to solve them that really prompted the switch.
“I chose to major in sustainability because I wanted to receive the tools I needed to change the world – or at least one small corner of it. I wanted to be a part of the solutions,” says Roeckner.
Now nearing the completion of her degree in the “Policy and Governance in Sustainability Solutions” track, Roeckner considers her summer in the “Comparing Sustainability across Cultures and Governments” program to be the highlight of her college experience. This Global Sustainability Studies Program offered by Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives provided Roeckner, whose minor is political science, with the opportunity to study sustainability policy in both Washington, D.C. and London.
“Perhaps the most important lesson I took away from that experience is that the only way to advance sustainability-related policies and get bills passed in Congress is to keep on pushing them through no matter what. Never give up on them,” Roeckner says.
In addition to political science and policy making, Roeckner has a keen interest in sustainability education at the elementary level. As an intern with Ecology Explorers, a program offered by the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, she teaches children about current sustainability and ecology challenges.
Similarly, her volunteer position as SmartRoots Global’s director of curriculum development has provided her with the opportunity to design a three-week program aimed at giving students the knowledge needed to address global challenges. Her work will be implemented in developing countries like Ghana, where several schools eagerly await it.
As for Roeckner’s future, the possibilities are endless and exciting. She is increasingly interested in the U.S. Green Building Council’s work and is studying for the LEED Green Associate exam in hopes of working for the Center for Green Schools.
“I’ve wanted to be an author since I was four years old. Now, thanks to the School of Sustainability, my dream job is to be an author and a specialist in sustainability education!” says Roeckner.
With boundless hope for humanity and unending resolve, Roeckner graduates from the School of Sustainability in three weeks and continues her tireless pursuit of sustainability solutions.