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Hanley Sustainability Institute

HSI student leader’s work about merging societal and environmental concerns

By Jenny Capka

Marigrace Moses’ interest in science, education and the environment started early and was sparked by her mother.

“My mom and I did our first science fair when I was 5 years old,” Moses said. “We made a tri-fold and used all the plastic animals I played with to demonstrate different food chains.”

Moses, an education team member at the Hanley Sustainability Institute, is now a senior majoring in environmental biology and minoring in human rights and sustainability.

“I actually first applied to the University of Dayton as a marketing major, then I realized I needed to be in science and the school offered me so many ways to get involved with it,” she said.

Moses has taken full advantage of her opportunities.

As a freshman, she volunteered with HSI’s composting team helping with waste audits.

“I thought it was cool that other students found digging through garbage fun,” she said. “Over time, I really started to care and started being motivated by sustainability here at UD.”

As a sophomore, she joined the Sustainably Activation Program (SAP), a cohort of 10 students interested in sustainability. As a junior, Moses was a student leader on HSI’s education team focused on educating UD’s student body about general, clothing, food and global sustainability.

“We hosted Flyer Go Green classroom chats and PATH-point events,” Moses said. “We had over 20 events and 2,000 total attendees last year.

“We learned that people find it fascinating to find out where their clothing is being sourced. We also like to make (the events) fun with free candy and Kahoots a (trivia-type app).”

Last summer, she did research in Malawi, Africa through UD’s Human Rights Center.

“Our research was based on human rights and community development,” said Moses, who worked with a nongovernmental organization called Determine to Develop, which was started by a UD alumnus. “My research focused on women’s roles in sustainable fish farming. I learned so much from the people I would interview including all aspects of life such as environmental, social and economical. I would definitely go back.”

As a senior, Moses was part of a group of UD representatives who presented about experiential learning at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C. She also has a new role as student coordinator at HSI. She has her own projects and also works with fellow education team members Ummiya Chaudhary, Claire Sullivan and Emily Sandstrom.

“I work to make the education team more effective while also collaborating with other student organizations on all matters sustainability,” said Moses, who recently worked with the Student Government Association and the Human Rights Center to create the Sustainability Student Leadership Council.

“I remember when I was part of the Sustainability Club that we had the idea to start composting” she added. “I remember thinking that HSI was already working on composting. “We were all trying to do the same things in different ways and nothing was going to get done.”

The council strives to connect student organizations with a common purpose and create a center for collaboration.

“There are representatives from about 15 student orgs on the council right now,” Moses said. “We can have such a strong partnership together; each student organization can find a fit in sustainability.”

She will work at HSI as a summer fellow after this semester before embarking on her next step.

“I am not too sure where I want to be after graduation,” Moses said. “But any job that I do I want to bring social aspects and environmental aspects together.”

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the Sustainability Program website.

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