Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Leadership lived: Student becomes environmental advocate at UIS

Growing up on a family farm in central Illinois, the outdoors has always been a part of Marissa Jones’ life. Her passion of nature and the environment led her to the University of Illinois Springfield where she is majoring in environmental studies.

At UIS, she is employed as the Campus Sustainability Projects Coordinator where she helps to organize suitability events on campus. She is also the co-president of the student organization Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE).

Jones recently helped to organize a waste audit on campus where students collected campus trash, sorted it and calculated the amount of waste that could have been recycled.

“It is a messy job, but we can get really beneficial results,” she said. “The goal is to try and look at the data and notice that we’re not recycling as much as we could be and try to influence a change in behavior.”

Jones said she’s passionate about sustainability and the environment because she wants to help prevent climate change. She believes UIS has already taken many steps in the right direction, but she wants the campus to do even better.

“Here on campus we have the new student union that’s going up and that has a big green and energy efficient vibe,” she said. “We’re just wanting to spread that vibe all across campus.”

As a student leader, Jones has learned many lessons about leadership, however the biggest lesson she’s learned is how to be a team player.

“Being a leader sounds like an individual position, but being a leader also involves getting help from outside sources,” she said. “That’s what also makes you a leader, being able to compromise and work with other people well.”

Following graduation from UIS, Jones said she would like to continue her environmental advocacy and find a career where she can work outdoors.

She’s proud of the work she’s done at UIS.

“I chose UIS because it’s a nice local campus and it was very diverse and small,” she said. “I felt like I could personally leave an impact on UIS and come back and see my impact later on.”

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