January 2019: Alessandra Alvares

January 28, 2019

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January Sustainability Profile: Alessandra Alvares

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month we had the privilege to interview Alessandra Alvares, the Office Manager and Event Coordinator at the Sustainability Office. She works with teams of students to spread the word about sustainability here on campus. The Sustainability Office fosters a culture of sustainability at UCSC by actively engaging students, staff, faculty and community members through education, leadership development, institutional change, and behavioral transformation.

What does sustainability mean to you?

      " It means being conscientious and deliberately thinking about all the decisions I make in my daily life: how they affect me, my community and the planet. It also means supporting those who have sustainable practices and ideas."

What sustainable practices do you live by in your daily life, and has the sustainability office inspired you to make any changes?

      " I use my bike for transportation and avoid single-use plastic (and chemicals) as much as possible, almost never eat red meat (and avoid other meats), buy organic and local, and carry my refillable water bottle with me at all times. I try to support people that are doing beautiful and meaningful things as well as participate in community events.The Sustainability Office has inspired me to think bigger and has shown me a whole new meaning of being a team player and empowerment."

Favorite Green Tips?

      " Avoid buying new stuff, carry a bamboo or wood cutlery set at all times, compost your food, and share the joy you feel by doing all of that with family and friends."

What is your role/Position at the Sustainability Office?

       "As the Office Manager and Events Coordinator, I manage the Education and Outreach Team (I feel lucky, they are so great!), coordinate major events, oversee the office management in general, including providing my colleagues with support."

Tell me about your background and how you became part of UCSC.

      " I was born, raised and educated (first College) in Brazil and came to the US in my early twenties. I first joined UCSC with an admin job in the Mathematics Department and later to go back to school (go slugs!), double-majoring in Community Studies and Art. I did social justice work in Brazil, freelanced and worked in the corporate world for a while. I then returned to UCSC, working in the Latin American and Latino Studies department, where I was for 10 years before joining the Sustainability Office."

What is your long-term vision for sustainability at UCSC?

       "That our mission and goals are everyone’s goals, including students, staff, faculty, and anyone involved with slugs, so UCSC can be the sustainable trailblazer in many areas (as it is on some already). Hopefully, someday we will be able to say that every department or unit has a member who completed the Sustainability Certificate Program, for example. That will be amazing."

What are your thoughts on environmental justice?

       "Absolutely necessary and essential to effectively bring changes that will benefit humanity as a whole. There is no room for the same small, privileged group making decisions without being inclusive any longer.I am glad that this sentiment is widespread and growing strong. We have just experienced a remarkable result in the midterm elections this year (Congress is beautifully diverse), so I am more hopeful."

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

       "Yes! I know some of it is cliché but I really mean all of it:  YOU ARE the change and can achieve anything you want, ANYTHING. Love yourself and others without reservation. Study hard, work hard, play hard (as in have lots of fun). Share your ideas and thoughts often, and kindly debate with those that don’t agree with you. Connect with people (as many people as you can) in a meaningful way; collaboration and teamwork is where it’s at!