FEBRUARY 2018 PROFILE: KATIE SYME

February 07, 2018


 

What does sustainability mean to you?

"Sustainability means taking into account the well-being of future generations on this earth in addition to its current residents- people are a part of nature, and our practices and policies should reflect that."

What sustainable practice do you live by in your daily life?

"I prepare my meals on the weekend so I don't have to cook throughout the week- it makes life easier and I eat out less (using fewer disposables and plastics)! I also practice personal sustainability by seeking out things that give me joy every day- little pauses help break up the monotony so I can be more available to save the world in any way I can."

What sustainable practice does UC Santa Cruz act on to keep the campus sustainable?

"The Food Systems Working Group is such a wonderful hub of honest efforts to improve the lives of UCSC community members. They work in providing resources to support the health and wellness of students and staff on campus. Student-led projects like the Real Food Calculator Team, Global Food Initiative, Demeter Seed Library, Food Access and Basic Needs Team, Rachel Carson Garden, and Produce Pop-Up work hard to make UCSC accessible to everyone. For example, the Produce Pop-Up provides mobile access points for organic food at half the market price! The Basic Needs Team also helps people with CalFresh assistance, temporary housing, hygiene care packs, etc.- all of which are must-haves for the broke college student."

Do you think UC campuses should join forces to become more sustainable, are there things we can learn from each other and apply?

"I definitely think that looking to other UC campuses for fresh ideas is the way to go- sometimes we forget that other colleges have been struggling with the same things we have and that they have their own creative ways of working within the limitations of a state institution. Human collaboration is the core of sustainability!

What are your thoughts on Food Justice?

"I like to think of it more as food IN-justice (credit to Ron Finley). We are not talking about the ways our food system is just- we are actively engaging the problems we see and finding solutions that work for our community. And that can be different for everyone! Food insecurity exists on a spectrum, and our solutions should reach out to every individual's experience."

Does sustainability only mean taking care of the planet, if it doesn’t explain?

"It depends on your definition of the planet- if your definition includes all aspects of the environment (animals, water, ecological dynamics, soil, plants, fungi, people from every walk of life, etc.), then yes, sustainability "only" means taking care of the planet. But that's a lot of responsibility to take on! Our economics and resource use is a part of that, our cities are a part of that, our institutions are a part of that. Humans are members of this planet as much as the trees and rivers are- we can really thrive while honoring our earth, it just requires innovative thinking."

What is your long-term vision for UCSC?

"I hope for a UCSC that considers the livelihood of its people and local ecology first. As housing and other resources become increasingly hard to access in the university's upcoming expansion, it is our duty to radically increase our efforts to reach out to the students and workers to improve our quality of life."

Is there a message you would like the UCSC students to know?

"You are powerful, you are meaningful, and you should NEVER give up on yourself. What lights your fire is valuable and necessary in a world that is not so great a lot of the time. Your passion can be brought to any project, no matter how insignificant it seems to you in low moments. (P.S. You can make it. School is the hardest thing, and anyone who says differently is not being real with you. But you're strong enough to take it on, and soft enough to acknowledge when you need a breath of fresh air.)"