Monday, October 6, 2014

October 2014 Sustainability Profile: Melina Meseroll

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Melina Meseroll, the current Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Campus Sustainability Office. In the past, Melina has been the Provost's Sustainability Intern for UCSC's Procurement Services Department and she was last year's Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Sustainability Office.


Position Titles: 

  • Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sustainability Office
  • Co-Chair of Path to a Greener Stevenson
  • Residential Advisor for the Sustainability Themed House in Stevenson
Favorite Green Tip: Pick something reusable like a reusable water bottle or a mason jar that you love, decorate and customize it, and then use it! Personally, I love mason jars because they have so many uses; for instance, a flower vase, a table center piece, they can hold my lunch and liquids, and they are very beautiful.

What does “Sustainability” mean to you? I am a fan of separating out words to better understand their meaning and origin; so, the first thing I think of when I hear "sustainability" is "the ability to sustain." My first sustainability-related job was working with UCSC Purchasing, so my intuition naturally turns to consumerism when thinking of sustainability. Right now, our products are made to not last, so that we keep buying more and more products (Story of Stuff anyone?). In a sustainable world, our purchasing system would be able to sustain itself, meaning products would be recycled back into the system and not add to our landfills.

How has sustainability related to your role at UCSC? 
How doesn't sustainability relate to my life at UCSC? That should be the question. UCSC has kindled my love for sustainability. I came into college knowing that I wanted to work in environmental awareness and I found so many opportunities available on this campus.

In my freshman year I got involved in a sustainability club called Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS). From there, I heard of the Provost's Sustainability Internship (PSI) opportunity in the Sustainability Office. Once accepted into the program, I was given the project to create a Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) Tool for UCSC's Procurement Department and got greatly involved with the Green Purchasing Working Group. I grew very passionate about making the purchasing system more sustainable. The LCCA Tool is currently being integrated into the Procurement Department so that campus buyers are aware of which products have the lowest life-cycle cost and are thus more sustainable products to buy for our campus.

After the PSI program, I was hired as the Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Sustainability Office. In that position, I was the coordinator for the Education and Outreach Team. Together, the team and I tabled at events, create a monthly newsletter for the office, planned events, and created educational materials for students, staff, and faculty on campus. I also participated in a weekly class with other CUIPs around campus where I presented and wrote about my internship projects. I fell in love with educating fellow students about our campus's goals and showing them how they can help us reach our goals by making small behavior changes in their daily lives.

This year, I am still working as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sustainability Office and will continue to foster sustainability in my daily life at UCSC.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
I use a reusable water bottle and mason jars for whenever I need fluids. I walk everywhere that is manageable; the only time I take a bus is when I have to go to downtown Santa Cruz. I bring reusable bags when shopping.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
So many to choose from...I would have to say one of my favorite sustainability moments was last year when I was able to sit down with Chancellor Blumenthal and interview him for the Sustainability Office newsletter. It was so inspiring to see how he is sustainable in his own life and his enthusiasm for sustainability is contagious and never ending. Chancellor Blumenthal has enormously supported campus sustainability and it was such an honor to be able to talk to him about his sustainability ideas. I was also really nervous!

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