Student’s Involvement Leads to Passion for Sustainability

May 6, 2016 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

As a community college transfer student, Jamie Mahoney arrived at Elmhurst College with a plan to study criminal justice and an eagerness to get involved on campus.

The College provided ample opportunities for involvement. Among her many activities, Mahoney joined the Honors Program and served as president of the campus chapter of Active Minds, a group that raises awareness about mental illness. She also contributes regularly to the Office of Admission’s student blog.

But it was in joining the College’s sustainability efforts that Mahoney found her true passion.

First, she joined the Elmhurst College Sustainability Committee, which leads campus efforts to improve sustainable practices on campus. That involvement led to a paid internship with the Sustainability Committee during her senior year.

Then, this past fall her internship led her to launch a campus chapter of the Food Recovery Network (FRN), an organization that fights food waste and hunger by recovering discarded food from campuses and communities and donating it to people in need. Under Mahoney’s direction, Elmhurst’s FRN donated 835 pounds of food to local food pantries in its first four months of operation.

Her involvement in sustainability efforts “just kept opening doors,” she says. And her passion for sustainability kept on growing, too.

She became so interested that she became president of the College’s student environmental group, the Greenjays, and joined the City of Elmhurst’s sustainability task force.

And she has a new plan for the future, too: When she graduates this spring with a degree in urban studies with a focus on public services, she hopes to work in the sustainability field.

“I had a super plan, and Elmhurst totally changed it,” Mahoney says with a laugh.

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