Meet Carolyn Cai, a senior studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics and a member of the Education SWATeam.
In addition to her work with the SWATeam, Cai is also involved with The Fashion Network, Illinois Student Government, Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), and Covenant Fellowship Church.
She originally got involved with the Education SWATeam through a referral from a Chair of another SWATeam.
“I immediately applied because I wanted to work in a professional setting with faculty and staff members at Illinois who can help me expand my knowledge, and to make real changes on campus,” Cai said. “I had previously done research on my own regarding food waste on college campuses, and I want to continue making Illinois a greener community for all.”
Her team is working to promote and improve upon sustainability-focused academic opportunities, RSOs and other campus organizations, and community groups. In doing so, they’re helping the University of Illinois campus achieve its Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) commitment of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Cai hopes to propose a plan for a new sustainability workshop for incoming students. Her aim is to help students be better informed about sustainability, the iCAP, and green initiatives and resources both on and off campus.
Additionally, in the dorms and other campus buildings, she’s looking to add “compost” as an option of disposal in addition to the standard “landfill” and “recycle”.
Cai is passionate about sustainability-focused education because she knows the powerful change in perspective it offers.
“Outreach and education can make a substantial impact in the way that people become more aware and proactive in living fuller, better lives,” she said.