Sustainability Q&A with Kathryn Callaghan
What is your position and department at Gonzaga?
I am an Admissions Specialist for Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM). I support recruitment efforts for our online graduate programs.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I view sustainability both as a way of life and state of mind. Sustainability is about being intentional about the food we put into our bodies, the products we use, and the companies we support. It is about feeling responsible for taking care of the earth for ourselves and for future generations.
How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?
I was part of the inaugural Employee Sustainability Ambassadors (ESA) program in 2018. We learned about various topics including water use, food, recycling, energy, and more. Education is the foundation for change so this opportunity opened my eyes to a lot of issues that are impacting our local and global community. It was encouraging to learn that our Office of Sustainability is doing so much on campus to support sustainability initiatives. They have also formed relationships with organizations in the Spokane community that are doing amazing work.
What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?
After completing the ESA program, I was really inspired to think about how I can live more sustainably. I carpool or take the bus to work (Zagcards are free bus passes!). I support local farmers by purchasing CSA boxes from LINC Foods. I ordered compost bins for our office and try to compost at home. I refrain from purchasing coffee unless I have my to-go cup with me to prevent unnecessary waste. I think about my purchases more and the impact they have.
How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?
I’m excited that the ESA program will run for the third time in the spring. The AmeriCorps volunteers that support the Office of Sustainability are passionate, inspiring people. I have been so impressed by them. In order to scale up sustainability initiatives on campus, I think we as a university can show our commitment by hiring more full-time staff for the Office of Sustainability.
How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?
I will continue to engage in conversations with my peers. Climate Change is a daunting problem, but I think it’s important for people not to feel discouraged or overwhelmed to the point they feel like they can’t do anything to help. It is not about being perfect. It’s about feeling empowered to make choices that can make a difference for you and for others. Collective small changes have the power to change the world.