July 12, 2018

Trying to follow a sustainable lifestyle in college was a no brainer for Kara Eckert ’20.

“I grew up in a family that always recycled, composted, collected rainwater for watering plants and wore warm sweaters in the winter so that we could keep our heat usage low. Sustainable practices simply became a habit for me,” Eckert says.

College is a crucial time to encourage others to reduce their environmental impact, she says.

“College is like a fresh start for figuring out how you personally want to live. The education you receive shapes how you live, so it is crucial that colleges have some type of sustainability education.”

As a high schooler, Eckert started up a TerraCycling program, which she has continued at Susquehanna. New Jersey-based TerraCycle takes waste considered to be non-recyclable and turns it into a raw material for new products.

Over the years, Eckert has been able to recycle around 65,000 items, raising $700 for charities and nonprofits.

“TerraCycle takes a lot of time and energy but it has become my ‘baby,’ and I feel that the program is a unique way to devote myself to protecting the natural world and supporting those in need,” she says.

Majoring in biology and Spanish, Eckert is aiming for a career in plant conservation, microecology or sustainable agriculture.

“No matter what job I have in the future, I will continue to try to embody an environmentally friendly lifestyle and encourage my community to do the same,” she says.