Karin Hodgin Jones is a University of Illinois graduate student studying Sustainable Planning with a focus on transportation in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
An active member of the Transnational Planners Group in her department, she also has worked with students in Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science in 2015 to promote curriculum on sustainable management of electronic waste for archivists of digital materials.
In addition to her skills in planning, Karin holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art from Illinois and continues to create and exhibit mechanical and kinetic artworks.
Karin thinks that sustainability is important at Illinois because it is a campus that brings people from all over the world together to form and share a community. If campus is dedicated to sustainability, that dedication will permeate the entire community, she said. When students, faculty, and staff from every field of study and at every level of education or career have examples of sustainability in both private and professional spaces, it can have a “beautiful ripple effect” from the campus outward.
For her, the most rewarding aspect of being a member of the SWATeam is learning to organize and manage large-scale purchasing, waste management and recycling initiative.
“The campus is basically a small city, and learning about the needs of all of the different departments and facilities on campus provides me with wonderful practical experience planning sustainable waste management for communities,” she said.
She would love to see campuswide improvements in conscientious purchasing right away, but she knows it will take time to reach everyone with her smart consumption message. Still, she is encouraged by student enthusiasm and willingness to quickly adopt sustainability initiatives.
It all comes down to communication, she believes. “If a department, student group or office doesn’t know how they can meet sustainability goals or how to properly dispose of materials, then that is a missed opportunity.”