Q&A with Sophia Michael
Sophia Michael,a member of the Harriet Richards Cooperative House, is trying to encourage composting in dorms. She tells us her thoughts on sustainability in this Q&A as part of our What You’re Doing series focusing on the sustainable actions of faculty, staff, and students at BU.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability pertains to a lifestyle in which one considers the future within the actions of their everyday life.
When did you first become interested in sustainability?
I have been interested in sustainability since high school. I first really thought about it when I attended a Governor’s Institute program in Vermont. The program discussed a lot of issues that I had not previously considered but soon seemed like common sense such as, where our food comes from, how we make and distribute energy, and primarily how we affect our planet.
What is one thing you do on a daily basis to help make the campus more sustainable?
I always try to be aware of waste and how to avoid it. I make sure I cook appropriate portions. I try to reuse material. Currently in my art I am trying to use as much recycled and renewable material as possible. I also work with a great groups of people on campus to promote environmental issues.
What do you perceive as the biggest barrier for BU students, faculty, and staff to adopting more sustainable behaviors?
I think that sustainability is really all about mindset and habit. One of the biggest problems is that people still do not think about their personal impact on a day-to-day basis. It is important to remind people of reasons to care about their effect of our environment and our future, whether this is an issue surrounding unsustainable food consumption and purchasing, recycling, or energy sourcing. One of the largest issues is that people often opt for convenience over compassion. Therefore I think the goal should be to make sustainable actions a habit. I know that is something that has happened in my residence.
How would you challenge BU community members to live less wastefully?
The best method of living less wastefully is to exercise consciousness and control. I would challenge people to be as aware of the consequence of their actions. Remember that their money is a way of voting, so spend and support wisely. Think about portions and take what you need rather than a surplus. Remember that composting or recycling is important because it will benefit a long-term goal, and keep in mind how this effects and your future.
What would you recommend to someone on campus who is interested in sustainability but doesn’t know how to get their ideas off the ground?
If have an interest in sustainability there are a lot of options to get involved in on campus. Sustainability@BU can be a good start. From Organic Gardening Club to Students for a Just and Stable Future to Environmental Coalition meetings, there are many outlets to find support and more information. Ultimately, if you have a good idea that you are passionate about, take action and make it happen.
What are your hopes for campus sustainability in the future at BU and how do you plan to help the community achieve these goals?
I hope that awareness of issues surrounding sustainability become more and more conscious on our campus. It would be great if sustainable actions become a habit but it would be even better if everyone acted intentionally. I hope everyone will act on their own, without an outside push, to achieve a more sustainable future. Right now I am working to make change for sustainability through student organization and through personal action. I think everyone can play a role and doing just a little bit can be doing a lot.