I had heard about the sustainability dual major from peers in class, and later that night searched the UNH website for how to enroll. I can remember emailing Professor Vanessa Levesque for more information on the program, although I already knew that this was the path I would be taking. The following semester, spring of my sophomore year, I took SUST 401: Surveying Sustainability.
Similar to many other SDMs in the cohort, my prior experience around “sustainability” was largely based in the environmental realm. It was in SUST 401 that I learned about the 3 Pillars (Environment, Economic, and Social) and was introduced to systems thinking. In this course, we were taught the history of sustainability and dove into the three pillars, focusing on their interactions. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were among the concepts covered. Throughout the course we explored several grand challenges: climate change, the food system, racial equity, and energy. We had ended with a unit on “Think Global, Act Local” to discuss personal action.
The most impressionable part of SUST 401, for me, was the experience of partaking in Food Solutions New England’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. It was through this on-going project that I was exposed to the reality of racism and injustice in the food system. As I have progressed through the SDM program, my passion for social equity and environmental racism have grown. My experience in SUST 401 latched onto my interests within sustainability, and I took Ecogastronomy as an elective to further explore the food system.