Welcome Back! – How to Get Involved In Sustainability at The University of Rochester
Welcome to the Class of 2025, welcome to all new transfer students, and welcome back to all returning students, faculty and staff. As campus fills up again, it is important to acknowledge how important sustainability is to our community, and this post will show some ways to get involved with sustainability at the University of Rochester.
A great way to get engaged with sustainability is by joining the EcoReps program. EcoReps are a part of ResLife that work to promote sustainability to their hallmates and peers. First-year members attend a class twice a week and get two credits for that, along with smaller tasks and assignments, and even committee work. Upper-class members attend a class once per week for one credit and have a few smaller tasks as well. They also aid in guiding the first-year EcoReps.
This program is a great way to start engaging in sustainability at the University as it helps teach you about sustainability in general, sustainability at the University, you get to meet other peers that are also interested in sustainability, and you get acquainted with the University on many levels.
Clubs and Organizations
Joining a sustainability-focused club or organization is also very beneficial, and gives you a lot more freedom to work with your schedule and the level of commitment with which you are comfortable. Additionally, some of our clubs are more specific and could suit you better than others, e.g., Engineers for a Sustainable World.
We have plenty of clubs and organizations at the University, many of which focus on sustainability in their own way. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the Activities Fair to learn more about them, but some of them are listed below:
- Engineers for a Sustainable World
- Engineers Without Borders
- Food Recovery Network
- Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth (SAVVY)
Many professors at the University of Rochester do research, and many actually focus or touch on sustainability. The best way to join this is by emailing the professor and asking them if they have space on their research team. Additionally, you can sometimes request to hear about their research or join them for a few meetings, depending on the research being done.
Join a University Program
Joining a program offered by the University can have many benefits. These can range from learning new skills, meeting new people, becoming more confident, and more. Although not many of the University’s programs may not focus on environmental sustainability directly, many of them focus on some aspect of sustainability, touch on the subject, or even address it creatively. Some programs also give opportunities for you to do something of your interest. An example is the Medallion Program where in tier three, you can choose your own project and focus it on sustainability. Along the way you attend workshops, learn about leadership, and if you complete the program, you get a medallion as well.
Employers at the University are always looking for students interested in sustainability, so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on Joblink as various jobs pop up all year long. Two very focused teams to work for are Facilities Team Green and Dining Team Green. Both teams focus strongly on sustainability at the University, and jobs become available as soon as a spot opens. Other employers tend to focus on sustainability as well depending on their department and their goals, so be sure to read the job descriptions!
A great way to get engaged if the information above is overwhelming or you just do not know where to start to simply reach out. Faculty, staff, and peers are always willing to give you their advice and talk about their experiences. Sometimes reaching out could even lead to working on a project almost as a freelancer.
Above are some of the most common ways to get engaged with sustainability at the University, but there are definitely more! Most importantly, remember that sustainability consists of three big factors, environmental, social, and economical, so always be sure to look out for creative ways to contribute to sustainability in all three factors!
Written by Zein Tynon, Class of 2024.