Congratulations to Fall 2012 SUST Graduates!

Last Friday marked the graduation of several Sustainability Studies majors at Roosevelt: Alexandra Bishay, Jessie Crow Mermel, Kenton Franklin, Keith Nawls, Jeff Wasil, and Joe Zambuto. These former undergraduates walked across the famed Auditorium Theater stage in downtown Chicago to join the growing list of alumni from Roosevelt’s SUST program, which was founded in 2010 and offers classes in downtown Chicago, suburban Schaumburg, and online.

Jessie Crow Mermel and Jeff Wasil at RU's graduation ceremony, 15 Dec 2012 (photo: M. Bryson)

Jessie Crow Mermel and Jeff Wasil at RU’s graduation ceremony, 15 Dec 2012
(photo: M. Bryson)

Each of these students pursued interesting and varied experiences during their time at RU, both within and outside of the university. Alex Bishay, Keith Nawls, and Joe Zambuto were members of the first Service & Sustainability (SUST 350) course in the spring of 2012; that class took place at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm and involved multiple field trips to urban agriculture sites in Chicago and Milwaukee, and did weekly work at this Growing Power farm site in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood.

Kenton Franklin worked as an environmental sustainability work-study student, then intern, at RU’s Schaumburg Campus, and has been an instrumental contributor to the sustainable campus redevelopment efforts focused on making the Schaumburg facility more sustainable in its landscaping, energy use, and recycling. He plans to study environmental economics in graduate school.

Jessie Crow Mermel, who worked as a part-time farm educator at Angelic Organics Farm in Caledonia, IL, while pursuing her studies at RU full-time, wrote a recent guest essay for the SUST @ RU blog, co-developed a media presentation (with current SUST major Mary Beth Radeck) on suburban sustainability issues for the 2011 Sustainability and Ethics Forum at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and intends to pursue graduate study in ecopsychology.

Jeff Wasil was already working in the environmental field when we transferred to Roosevelt in 2009, and then soon thereafter declared himself as one of the very first SUST majors at RU in the Fall of 2010. That semester he took SUST 220 Water, and managed to find time to fly to Lake Constance in Switzerland to give a talk at one of the most prestigious water conferences in Europe. Jeff later won acceptance to the University of IL at Chicago’s summer Sustainability Institute in 2011, where he worked on Chicago water conservation issues and planning with fellow undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the region. Jeff is employed as an Engineering Technical Expert in the Evinrude Corporation’s emissions testing, certification, and regulatory program, trying to lower the carbon emissions of boat engines as much as is technically feasible.

Congratulations to all our SUST grads this December, and best of luck to our continuing majors as they enjoy a well-earned rest and gear up for the Spring 2013 semester!

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