Mallory Mahen is a sophomore studying Technical Systems Management in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). She serves as the Clerk for the Land & Water and Education SWATeams.
In addition to her involvement with the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), Mahen wanted to play a more direct role in planning the 2020 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the strategic plan for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
“I am really lucky to be a student here now, in the time of the iCAP’s renewal, because this is a time of high student involvement. I learned that the Clerk position was open through the SSC coordinator and jumped on the opportunity,” Mahen said.
The objectives of the Land & Water and Education SWATeams are not only interesting, but also innovative, she said.
“To me, (they) are some of the biggest components of sustainability,” Mahen said. “Education truly drives any sustainability initiative, from my perspective. Proper land and water use can also have some of the largest impacts on campus sustainability. I have always had a particular interest in sustainable water use. It is such a precious resource, yet necessary for life — that juxtaposition is one of the drivers for my passion for sustainability.”
Mahen’s passion for sustainability drives her to not only implement positive practices on her own, but to encourage the entire campus to do the same.
“With the 2020 iCAP currently being written, I am able to see the process of formulating, synthesizing, and prioritizing objectives. It is comparable to creating a massive, university-wide, sustainability to-do list. It would be really cool to graduate knowing some of those items were actually crossed off,” she said.
Outside of actively trying to make the University of Illinois more sustainable, Mahen holds leadership roles in various organizations on campus, including: SSC Education Chair, Vice President of the University’s chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, iConnect Facilitator for the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations (OIIR), and Kappa Alpha Theta member. Outside of school she likes to participate in yoga, listen to music, and cheer on Illini sports.
“My favorite part about being a student at the University of Illinois is the lasting connections that I have been able to make,” she said. “My sorority sisters, boss, and several professors are just a few examples of the people at U of I that have influenced my life. Once you get really involved on campus, you realize how many people are connected and it makes the school feel a lot smaller and easier to navigate. The community I have found here is so special to me.”