Ella Nilsen '13

Ella Nilsen

What's coming up this semester for UNH students to get involved in sustainability?

This spring semester, we have a ton of programs and events that everyone can get involved in. Whether you are already involved, even have just a mild interest in the goings on of UNH Sustainability, or one of the numerous student groups that have a sustainability focus, there are events to cover every interest! My personal favorite is the student video and image contest, running January 28th-March 4th, that asks students to create a video or submit an image portraying "What Sustainability Means to Me," because I'm a big fan of photography and short film projects. Another great event happening in February is "The Greener Taste of Greater Durham," a gathering of area restaurants and green businesses in the MUB. Obviously, everyone loves food. Check it out.  Recyclemania is running this spring, and student groups are putting on popular events like Solarfest. Lecture series, art exhibits...really, there's so much happening, it's hard not to get involved.

Why should students get involved in sustainability on campus?

This school has a really amazing track record in sustainability, so automatically you're set up with a ton of opportunities to get involved. UNH offices and administration have accomplished a lot to make us a more sustainable school, but student involvement is key to improving. Students have a voice and the ability to change things on campus that staff and administration don't always have, and UNH students have successfully improved things on campus in big ways. Case in point: Trash2Treasure. Our professors encourage us to learn and take steps to make positive change once we leave school, but why shouldn't we start now?  UNH makes it really easy for anyone (really, anyone - I'm a history major/writing minor, not the "typical" major for someone involved in sustainability) to get involved and supports its students. For all of you who are looking for a job or internship, there are always new opportunities to boost your resume or make money working for the university or green businesses in the area.  Plus, you meet so many people you may not have otherwise gotten to know when you become involved.  You don't need many more reasons.

What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?

I think that sustainability presents so many solutions for fixing multiple problems we face today, whether they be economic, environmental, or social. So many of the things we do at the Sustainability Academy revolve around figuring out how to bring people together to solve problems that are a lot larger than we are - and that's a really cool concept.  The people I work with each week motivate me; their ideas, involvement, and drive to make a positive difference in our world are inspiring and help me do my part.  I initially got started working with sustainability because I was an undergrad student interested in climate change and the environment, but now I'm learning how to practically apply sustainability on one college campus.  It's a great experience that I hope others will get the chance to repeat and make their own!


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