Congratulations to Megan Bjella, this weeks Climate Community Citizen of the Week!
Megan Bjella, a recent graduate of Lawrence University, is a passionate environmentalist, as reflected in her student activism. While at Lawrence, Megan managed the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden—affectionately known as SLUG—and worked closely with Lawrence’s dining service to increase the amount of local and sustainable food available on campus. In addition to managing the campus garden, Megan wrote and received three grants to fund her position as an Educational and Outreach intern, developing a garden-based learning curriculum for middle school students. Through this internship, she also worked with the Community Garden Partnership, a local nonprofit, to identify and address access issues to fresh food. In addition, she served as co-chair of the Environmental Responsibility Committee, a sub-committee of the student government, helping to establish an environmental activism grant to promote student-led sustainability projects and drafting a resolution to begin addressing residential energy use issues.
As an Environmental Studies major, Megan was able to dovetail her passionate activism with her academics. Her Senior Seminar project—done in partnership with one of her classmates—was a computer model of student electricity use, which demonstrated possible ways to decrease usage through various incentives. For her final term at Lawrence, Megan designed an independent study in which she developed environmental proposals to help move Lawrence towards becoming a more sustainable institution. She presented her ideas, as well as concrete suggestions for implementation, to members of the staff, faculty, and administration as well as her fellow students. She wrote her final proposal, aimed at reducing waste on campus, to take advantage of Lawrence’s opening of a new campus center. Several of her suggestions, including charging for disposable cup usage, discounts to those who bring their own mugs, a reusable container option for take-out food, and a ban on bottled water in the campus center and in catering, have all been adopted
Environmental leaders like Paul Hawken and Annie Leonard who emphasize the importance of hope, compassion, and community as we address the environmental crises of our time inspire Megan. Instead of feeling helpless when faced with the sheer number and multi-faceted nature of environmental problems, Megan strives to stay focused on what can be done, even if it is only on a small scale. She believes that change starts with an idea, a shift in consciousness, and that, taken together, these ideas and shifts will contribute to a more just and sustainable world.
Megan is exactly the type of young person we are looking for each week at The Climate Community!
Keep up the good work and congratulations again!