The very first elective I took, even before I was a sustainability dual major, was NR 435: Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness. At this point in my college career, I was still a Biology major, but with a Pre-Med focus. I thought that I wanted to be a doctor for years until this course opened my eyes up to the issues that we face as a society. Part of the reason why this elective stood out to me was how influential it was, to actually change my previous thinking. It introduced me to real issues we are facing today and sparked something inside me to change things for the better. Coming from a background in Biology, it was easy to pivot my learning away from Pre-med and into environmental biology.
While I took this class freshman year, a few things do still stand out. One of these important attributes was it made me start using the "think globally, act locally" mindset. While that class was more based on the "hard-science" side of environmental awareness, it made me think about things from social justice standpoint as well and really opened my eyes to the layers and layers of problems that exist in the world. Around the same time, I got heavily involved with Slow Food UNH (of which I am now the President) and began hosting MUB Farmers Markets to help broaden the scope of affordable, fresh, and healthy food not only for students and the community but for the support of the farmers. I applied bits of knowledge from this class into my work with MUB Market. I think this ties into how this class contributed to not only my SDM, but my academic career as well. It really got me thinking about how to solve issues on a local scale, how I can make my footprint as small as possible, and how does the environment (and the health of the environment) relate to communities and individuals.