Sustainability Q&A with Ashley Martin
What is your position and department at Gonzaga?
Administrative Assistant/Budget Administrator in the Office of the President
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me sustainability means protecting and preserving the planet, its resources, and natural beauty for ourselves and future generations.
How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?
I participated in the Employee Sustainability Ambassador program and learned about a broad range of topics relating to sustainability and what we’re currently doing on campus to improve stewardship of our resources. The program also introduced me to other individuals and organizations in the Spokane community working to protect our river, build and maintain sustainable buildings, improve waste management programs, etc. One thing that really stood out to me was a field trip to the Waste to Energy and Recycling Centers. The amount of trash produced and the challenges of successful recycling inspired me to reduce my own household waste as much as possible.
What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?
We are trying to live more simply - paring down our belongings and being more intentional about our purchases. We look for products with less packaging and reuse plastic containers to store leftovers and organize drawers. We keep a small garden, shop farmer’s markets and compost food scraps. (Did you know the city green bins are not just for yard waste?) I love DIY projects and enjoy shopping secondhand. Since having a baby last fall, we’ve also discovered the fun of making “baby food,” cloth diapering, and creating toys using things we already own. Then there are days I don’t make the best choices and remind myself I can do better tomorrow. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying.
How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?
It would be great if all employees were able to participate in the Sustainability Ambassador program. I hope that we’ll continue to promote the benefits of plant based diets and eating locally. I’d also like to see us hire more staff in the Office of Sustainability so that their team can build upon university initiatives, reach more community members, and continue to provide programming in partnership with local organizations.
How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?
We have incredible, passionate students who are researching and taking on projects that will continue to improve sustainability efforts at Gonzaga and in their fields of study. I’d encourage everyone to support them and get involved!