Wednesday, January 27, 2016

February 2016: Nicki Doan

What is your title, affiliation, and year?
Hi! My name is Nicki Doan, and I am an SSA, which stands for Student Sustainability Adviser, for the sister colleges of Porter and Kresge. I am a 2nd year Kresge affiliate.

What does “sustainability” mean to you?
When I imagine the term “sustainability,” I think of a ying-yang circle. The concept of ying and yang is that one side balances the other, in a uniformed manner. No side is sharper or more intricate than the other, hence the circular shape and the simplistic color schemes of black and white. I believe that sustainability has the same concept; it’s about taking only what you need, but also knowing that what you take comes with a price, and returning the favor. Like the symbol, sustaining means balancing, and when we take something from the environment, such as trees and paper, we must give it back, just as in recycling.

What made you interested in sustainability?
I think that being sustainable has always been a part of me as I was growing up. For example, my family always rewashed containers to use as portable food holders, and they have always kept gift bags and tissue papers to reuse next Christmas. My religion also plays a big role in my interest in sustainability. I was taught to treat every living thing with compassion, and to always give more than to take. I think these influences are very similar to the practice of sustainability.

Tell us about the Hydration Games, a campuswide competition in the colleges to reduce water.
The Hydration Games was a really fun project to do since I have never done anything campus wide! It also took a lot of time and outreach to make it work, and I think that is where my team and I lacked. The 7 of us were unable to spread awareness about water conservation as well as we had hoped. Other factors that didn’t give us the results that we had wanted could also have been due to the Carbon Neutrality project UC-wide that also sprang up during our Hydration Games.

Any similar events you're looking forward to this year?
Yes! We are promoting Zero Waste this quarter! To do so, we are going to be tabling during college nights and sending emails and a survey that we are working on to get a good idea of how aware our residents are about their waste contribution.

What’s your favorite thing about being an SSA?
My favorite thing about being an SSA is the experience. I have learned so much more about the “real world” than I do in a chemistry and biology class. We have guest speakers who are chemists and biologists working in the fields of sustainability. They express their passion for what they do, and it amazes me every time I listen. I am inspired by what they do and how they do what they do every time. Kinda makes me unsure about my future, but I mean, I do know now that I hope to find a career that I am extremely passionate about like them.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
You know, I think UCSC itself is a sustainability moment. Ever since coming here, I have adapted to the lifestyle of this campus, such as recycling pretty much everything, bringing reusable bags to the stores, and bringing my own reusable water bottle. Coming from a place where sustainability is a choice (SoCal) to a place where sustainability is a lifestyle (Santa Cruz), it’s quite amazing!

1 comment: