Sumner Bright

Hey there!

My name is Sumner Bright and I'm a senior journalism / sustainability major at the University of New Hampshire. I'm from the mid-coast area of Maine; Starting from Nobleboro, I moved around a lot with my Mom and sister, who are now living in Portland.

I love to write, record, and play music, and have done so diligently for the past few years, resulting in five self-recorded, full-length albums under the monikers of "Twitches" (my solo music), and "Plains" (full band, psychedelic rock type stuff!) When I'm not busy with gigs for either project, or working, I like to write (short stories mostly) and be a homebody.

For work, I am the social media and digital media coordinator for a local activist group called New Hampshire Youth Movement. NHYM works to secure fast, effective climate policy in New Hampshire, a solution to the student debt crisis, and we work to preserve young people's voting rights. My job mostly consists of managing all the social media pages, creating content like pictures and videos, and meeting with organizers across the country and world that have experience and advice to pass on to me and the rest of the movement.

I hope to achieve a great deal with my sustainability dual major, and hope to do more work relating to it than I hope to be a journalist. I am optimistic yet scared for our future in environmental and social terms. I believe there is a way out of these crises that works for everyone, but it's going to be an arduous road to something like that, and I just want to do my part and make up for the delayed progress of those who don't want to do theirs.

 

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Reflections on SUST 401 & 501

 

 

           My time within the Sustainability Dual Major at the University of New Hampshire has provided me with some of my favorite academic experiences thus far in my college education. As I reflect on my previous sustainability core classes, SUST 401 and 501, I am reminded of a handful of highly memorable moments and lessons.

            Firstly, and most prominently, I remember learning and understanding what it means to have a trans-disciplinary group of students, and for such a group to work collaboratively to educate others on areas that they may specialize in. Therefore, this meant providing valuable knowledge that students in certain educational groups may never come to consider without the external influence. I understood this to be a microcosm of sorts for the professional realm of sustainability work, and it made me so excited to continue working on issues involving sustainability for the sake of learning so many things I hadn’t ever considered.

            In 401, we learned about the three pillars of sustainability first. These are the basic elements of the idea of achieving sustainability, and involve economic, social, and environmental work. Understanding how these three pillars operate as a system, and work together like a well-oiled machine in ideal sustainability was one of the more fascinating things to consider while I was in the class.

            In 501, we spent a large portion of the semester discussing what the differences between interdisciplinary, transdiciplinary, co-production, and collaboration were. Before, I hadn’t known how many different shapes the idea of “working together” could take. I knew that there were of course different methods and possibilities for how it could shape out, but it was incredibly interesting to know the different forms it could take, so that as I enter my professional life, I may understand and employ these different scenarios for working with others, depending on the problem we face, or the question we must answer. The core to all of these ideas, at least as I understood it, was the benefit that came with working with a group of people in different areas of specialization, so that a more wholesome and diverse solution can be prepared and executed.

 

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            However, what stands out the most for me outside of actual lecture materials was my peers’ attitudes and how they inferred my own. The classroom environment was never hostile, or aggressive, it was solely supportive, excited, and productive. I know this may not be the case in every situation in the future, but it was amazing to be in a classroom with a group of less than twenty students, all eager to learn how we can do our part to make our world more sustainable. I never dreaded class time, or lecture for that matter, as I knew that if I ever lost steam throughout the process, I would have the support and excitement of my peers to rally me back to solutions-thinking for an issue that I may not have much stake in.

            I know that my experiences within these classes, both interpersonal and academic, were critical in forming a basis of expectations and framework for my time in the Sustainability Dual Major. They have set a model for me as to how to perform academia in ways that are productive, effective, and efficient, all while enjoying the presence, attitudes, and rigor of my peers who are alongside me through our academic journey.

Click here to read my reflections on my time in the Sustainability Dual Major electives. 

Click here to read my reflections on Nature Writers.

Click here to read about my experience pairing sustainability with journalism. 

Click here to read about how I plan to integrate sustainability and my education in my future. 

Click here to read my reflections on the Sustainability Capstone.