Sustainability Q&A with Sydney Cheifetz

October 29, 2020

What is your position and department at Gonzaga?

I work as a Health Educator in the Office of Health Promotion, focusing on alcohol and other drugs education and empowerment.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability is the capacity to endure, innovate and leave our common home better off. It recognizes the interplay between the planet and all living beings that call it home. Sustainability is not only the willingness to preserve during one’s lifetime, but also an intentional focus on the long-term well-being of the environment and its diverse inhabitants for generations to come.

How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?

I was eager to participate in the Employee Sustainability Ambassador program last spring. It was an amazing opportunity to learn more about sustainability as well as how to implement sustainable practices both on and off campus. I enjoy engaging in dialogues with other employees and students about ways in which we can reduce, reuse and recycle while sharing a passion for sustainable living with others.

What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?

I promote sustainability in my personal life by living a minimalist lifestyle, reusing what I can, buying items secondhand, recycling, composting, supporting sustainable businesses and being mindful of my carbon footprint including efforts to save water and minimize my consumption of meat.

How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?

Gonzaga has a unique opportunity to engage in sustainable efforts particularly during the time of COVID-19 by being mindful of the impact of our throwaway culture. There are innovative ways in which our community can model reducing the amount of disposable items we consume, particularly around paper products in the classroom and dining halls. Additionally, as a community dedicated to social justice, we must recognize that marginalized populations will be disproportionately impacted by climate change, rising sea levels and resource scarcity.

How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?

I believe sharing excitement about the natural world is a powerful way to promote sustainability. We all benefit from a planet that is healthy and habitable. Laudato Si' encourages us to recognize the relationship between humankind and our environment. I enjoy empowering students and employees as we each develop a unique curiosity for the natural world. As we grow to appreciate our planet, we understand the importance of caring for it and all living beings that call it home.