Independent Study Allowed Grad to Help with Sustainability Initiative

Heather Pearson '18

April 16, 2019

When Heather Pearson's senior capstone course was canceled for the semester, one of her professors Kathy Straub, professor of earth & environmental sciences, suggested she take an independent study instead.

By the end of the semester, the environmental studies major was able to help Susquehanna achieve a bronze rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). STARS is devoted to encouraging sustainability initiatives on college campuses and other high education institutions.

Pearson's job was to contact Susquehanna faculty and staff to gather data on subjects such as operations, academics and engagement. She was then able to submit this data to the STARS database and calculate the university's score in each category.

"I think the bronze rating is a great start and assessment on Susquehanna's past and current projects to create a more environmentally conscious campus," Pearson '18 explains.

She hopes other members of the community will continue work toward improving Susquehanna's rating.

"I thought Susquehanna ranked higher in some categories than the STARS database ranked it. The bronze rating was a great achievement for the university, and we can only improve from there regardless of the final STARS rating!" she says.

Currently, Pearson is working for the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps, a program run by AmeriCorps, but she hopes to have the opportunity to work on sustainability-related projects in the future.

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