Alyssa Helmling (CAS’22)

Campus Climate Lab Researcher, Earth House Resident, Sustainability Ambassador | Specialties: Noise Pollution, Plant Phenology, Wildlife Rehabilitation | Major: Biology

Service-oriented student, researcher, and artist committed to fostering sustainability


I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas with family on both sides of the US-Mexico border. In my college search, Boston University's commitment to sustainability stood out to me and was a significant factor in choosing BU for my undergraduate studies.

During my time here I have sought to become an active member of the campus community. As a dance minor, I have enjoyed choreographing and performing with other artists at BU—particularly with the Dance Theatre Group.

I have also served the community as a Sustainability Ambassador and as a Student Admissions Representative. But my commitment to sustainability has led to some of my most rewarding roles at BU, both as a member of Epsilon Eta and as the Resident Assistant of Earth House.

BU Highlights

  • I first became involved with research on campus my freshman year when I served as a research assistant for the Primack Lab and contributed to studies of plant phenology, wildlife rehabilitation, and noise pollution. At the beginning of my junior year, I developed my own research project building on the Primack Lab's previous work with noise pollution to assess the impact of the pandemic on Boston's soundscape. This project has been funded through grants from UROP and the Campus Climate Lab.
  • I lived in Earth House as a sophomore and fell in love with the caring community. When I decided to apply to be a resident assistant as a senior, I requested and was lucky enough to be granted a posting at Earth House again. Now I have the opportunity to help other BU students deepen their own appreciation for sustainability and to foster the same devotion to the environment that first drew me to Earth House.
  • For Summer Orientation of 2019, I served as a Sustainability Ambassador and educated incoming students about the university's Climate Action Plan and the sustainability initiatives across the campus. I will always cherish my relationships with my mentors Gabriela Boscio Santos and Lisa Tornatore.
  • One of my most enriching experiences was my time with the Tropical Ecology study abroad program. The opportunity to not only visit Ecuador and the Galapagos but to participate in ongoing research with BU’s partner institution Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Dr. Kelly Swing forever broadened my horizons and galvanized my commitment to protecting endangered ecosystems and better understanding our relationship with nature.


I am excited to see BU realize its sustainability goals, including reducing food waste and achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 through investment in clean energy. I am passionate about environmental justice and I hope to see BU at the forefront in addressing inequitable access to clean water, clean air, and local healthy foods.

Advice for BU Students

For anyone interested in professional development related to environmentalism, getting involved with the Sustainability Office is a great place to start. Internships and summer positions allow for hands-on experience promoting and maintaining sustainability initiatives.

For recreational and volunteer opportunities, there are numerous student groups such as the Environmental Student Organization and Epsilon Eta that foster communities dedicated to climate action and conservation.