Name: Ariel Wexler
Major, College, Graduation Year: Environmental Studies, Stevenson College, Class of 2015
Currently: The Volunteer Coordinator at Long Way Home
How were you involved with sustainability at UCSC?
My first year living in Stevenson College I got involved with PTAGS (Path to a Greener Stevenson) and the Stevenson Garden which allowed me to attend Inter-Org Retreat. Soon after, I was on the planning committee for the following retreats. For a year and a half I was an assistant on the Education and Outreach team at the Sustainability Office. I was also very involved with PICA (Program in Community and Agroecology). I was a PICA resident for three years and a Program Assistant for one year. One of my most rewarding experiences was getting the opportunity to co-facilitate an ESLP (Education for Sustainable Living Program) course called “Decolonize your Food System.”
How did your experiences at UCSC prepare you for life after college?
As an Environmental Studies major I was taught the skills to think critically about the complexities of environmental problems/solutions. Oftentimes when there seems like a clear or right solution to a problem it is always so much more complex. It has helped me think more holistically about what “sustainability” really means. Really, my time at UCSC was most beneficial because it gave me a network of wonderful, passionate, and inspiring individuals that also want to make real solutions in the world.
What are you currently up to?
Currently, I am living in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala as a Volunteer Coordinator for Long Way Home (LWH), a non-profit organization that has been building a school using green building techniques. Currently, the school has 118 students, grades K-8. Thus far LWH has used over 400 tons of trash and 14,000 tires in their construction. I love working for a project that has been able to turn sustainability from theory to practice. My main focus is to make sure that our volunteers have a great experience while working with us! Check out Long Way Home’s website.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Don't stress too much about life post-college. Try to enjoy where you are at in this moment in time. I know it is easier said than done. Last year I definitely found myself all consumed with questions about what type of career or job I was supposed to/should be doing. I’ve learned that every experience good or bad may lead you on a completely different path. I think it’s best to take it experience/job at a time and learn about the things you enjoy and don’t enjoy and then move on from there.