College is the best setting to try new things out, there is no other time and place that allows me to do anything I want as long as I am ready to participate, I don’t even need experience! Because of this, I decided to pursue interests that may not directly influence my career path, such as sustainability.
It started out as something I was already doing back in high school, and I signed up for a couple of clubs and mailing lists, one of which was Water UCI. Through their events, I learned about the severe water crisis here in California and the astounding lack of awareness or action addressing this issue. When a basic survival need is at risk, I easily became personally invested. I believe that nothing can function without water, and it was obvious to me that I had to contribute to this cause when any path I take brings me back to water. Textbooks require water in their making, every pound of meat comes from hundreds of gallons of water, machines need water to operate, heck, we can’t even survive without drinking water. There is just no running away from addressing this crisis. We must try harder.
I’ve come to learn that sustainability is not merely for “tree huggers” – it is everywhere and intersects with all things imaginable! I was able to fuse my passion for all things sustainable with my engineering interests by becoming involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World, participating in SpaceX’s Hyperloop Competition and doing microfluidics research for sustainable sanitation solutions (which is, for many reasons, super important for developing countries).
In fact, sustainability development has evolved into a lifestyle and I strive to assess myself in the circles of sustainability – ecology, economics, politics and culture. The Costa Rica Program is my first step in this long journey ahead of me, and I cannot wait to see how we will all grow through this experience.