As part of the Earth Month Sustainability Festival in April, a Career Preparedness Abstract Competition was held asking students to answer one of two questions:”What the Sustainability Certificate means to me” or “What does Sustainability education and research at Iowa mean to me.” Students enrolled in the Sustainability Certificate program were eligible to submit up to 300 words describing their understanding of the significance of sustainability studies. Prizes were awarded and arranged through the sustainability curriculum advisory committee. The prize money awarded to the contestants was graciously donated by business professor Sarah Rynes-Weller. We are dedicating the next blog posts to the top three entries for the Career Preparedness Abstract Competition.
The third-place entry was by Becky Kohles, who won $100.
Her piece was about the importance of her Certificate in Sustainability and finding solutions to improve the future of the environment while stimulating the economy and business:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” These sensible words spoken by Isaac Newton can be applied to more than just physics. These words speak of systems, systems such as our planet. Every action that takes place has an impact, even if it goes unseen. Wastes from industries affect the health of those around them. The materials used in everyday objects affect the lives of people halfway around the world. Emissions from cars and factories have impacted the planet so much as to affect our global climate and environmental quality. Sustainability can fix these imperfections and change the negative impacts into positive ones. Being a sustainable world is essential to our present and future society, economy, and environment. In order to be a sustainable planet, we must be armed with knowledge, passion, and acceptance of change. Sustainability allows businesses to thrive, society to retain equality and human rights, and the environment to be free of pollution and degradation. Sustainability inspires innovation, creativity, and holistic thinking. Sustainability brings healthy environments, education, and prosperity to all.
Completing the Certificate in Sustainability has opened my eyes to the true meaning of sustainability. I now realize that sustainability is not just about doing what is best for the environment, but it is finding solutions that will sustain the economy and benefit all people. It has taught me to not just consider one part, but to see the whole picture. The Certificate in Sustainability has sparked a passion to engineer solutions to these issues that will enhance and shape designs for the future; designs that will not only improve environmental quality but stimulate business growth and enhance the quality of life for people. I will continue to have sustainability influence my future actions and endeavors.”