Amy Liu is a junior in Urban Planning in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. She is a research assistant at the United States Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) with a focus on water topics. She also currently serves as Chair of the Student Sustainability Committee.
To Amy, campus sustainability is not only about economic efficiency and scientific progress, but also about cultural awareness. At a university, she says, this phenomenon is uniquely important because it can be controlled and observed in ways that are not possible outside the institution.
She joined the Water and Stormwater SWATeam because she wanted to learn in a practical setting about the quantitative and qualitative measures taken to advance water conservation — both of which the team used while drafting the water and storm water chapter of the revised 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).
So far, she has learned that having a complete vision — one that encompasses not only the advocates’ interests but also those of the University they work in — is extremely important to actualizing tangible outcomes.
In Amy’s view, the most pressing challenge for the Water and Stormwater team is making a compelling argument for striving to reach iCAP goals.
“Because water is often cheaper than energy, most people have trouble justifying lifestyle changes and investment in water-saving technologies,” she says. “To resolve this, we need to effectively reveal that the ecological, as well as economic, benefits outweigh the costs.”