Environmentally Focused: Video Transcript

Erin Graves [senior major in Geology, Class of 2018]: I got involved in EcoReps in my first year in like the first week of classes. It is a part of the Community Leadership Team, which is based in every residence hall.

The EcoReps meet once a week outside of the weekly CLT meetings to bring their concerns from their building to an area where their voices can be heard and something can be done about them. So I was really inspired by EcoReps my first year as a member, and then I went on to be on exec for the past three years.

And with the EcoRep leadership team, we do these things called trash audits, where we go into the residence halls, and the cleaning staff collects all of the trash from a day in their building, aside from the stuff in like the bathrooms, and we get to weigh it, and then sort through it to get all of the recyclable items out, and then we weigh the recyclables and see what percentage of the trash could have been recycled, but wasn't.

We saw a lot of students throwing away disposable plastic water bottles, and so we came up with the project that sort of combats that issue here on campus and reaches out to a lot of students, and that's where the water bottle comes in. We designed a water bottle that was durable, BPA free, something reusable that students could take to class and take advantage of all the wonderful water bottle refill stations that we have here on campus and in the residence halls.

The first year we got 1,000 water bottles, and we got to work with different departments, like the Institute for Environment and Sustainability with Dr. Jonathan Levy, and we also got to work with student organizations.

And we also got to work with people in the community, so we've been working with Songbird Environmental, the Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice, the Audubon Miami Valley. So it's been a really great opportunity to meet people in the same — that have the same interests as the EcoReps and be able to partner on a project that can have an impact on students here at Miami.

I think that I definitely am more environmentally focused after being here at Miami. It's something that I want to take into my professional career and do something with environmental policy, but I also have that great background in geology that I will definitely rely on, and I hope to be able to also guide trips similar to the ones that I have been on with the geology department and with MUGS.

I just enjoy being outside. I think that nature is so cool, and I want other people to be able to experience that and see the wonderful things that nature has to offer.

[February 2018]