Meet Annie Fortnow '17

Year: 2017

Major(s): Environmental Studies and HSSP

Minor(s): Economics and SJSP

Hometown: Highland Park, Illinois

Her Campus: What Activities are you involved in on campus?

Annie Fortnow: This year I’ve been involved with a lot more off campus activities, but during my time at Brandeis I helped to start the Farmers Club and Rooftop Farm. I’ve been really involved with admissions as an ambassador and a chatter and a host. I’ve also been involved with Waltham Group—I think I’ve participated in like four of them.  This semester I've also been really involved with Watch Housing Clinic, a housing clinic for people facing housing insecurity. Those are the main things, but I was also involved in Hillel during my early years at Brandeis.  Oh, and I was the Vice Chair of ‘Deis Impact, which is the festival of social justice at Brandeis.

HC: Was there any activity that you were particularly close to?

AF: I helped to start Farmer's club during my sophomore year with five other students and the club still exists today. I’m no longer on the executive board, but it’s been a really meaningful club to me. I helped to start the rooftop farm project as well. We were able to receive a Brandeis Sustainable Fund grant to start the farm and we received a lot of student support. I remember this time of year, two years ago, we had over a hundred students come out to help us set up and build the farm. It was really amazing to see the community come together and it’s been really been great to be involved with the farm.  I served as the Off Campus Coordinator, so I helped to create the donation program that the farm currently has, make community connections to donate some of the produce, and work with some of the Waltham Groups to come and learn about local food.  I currently work at Waltham Fields Community Farm and I do education about nutrition and local food for kids, so that’s definitely something I took from being able to start the club and farm project at Brandeis.

HC: Do you have a favorite Brandeis memory? 

AF: Oh, that’s really hard! This year, my friend Heather Spector, who’s also a senior, and I have had the opportunity to talk with a lot of different staff members and faculty at Brandeis who are engaged with social justice work. One of my favorite things about Brandeis has been about how these staff members and faculty have been so open to talking about difficult questions about social justice and learning about the intersection of social justice and community service. It’s been so cool to engage with these staff members and it’s definitely something we want to continue doing post Brandeis. They’ve been really willing to have these converstaions—it’s something that I don’t know could've happened at other schools.

HC: Do you have a favorite class that you’ve taken at Brandeis?

AF: During my sophomore year I took the class, Greening the Ivory Tower with Professor Laura Golden.  This was the class that I created the rooftop farm out of.  You can create a big sustainability initiative on campus, so the class allows you to learn about sustainability in a really experiential way. You travel off campus and learn about different sustainability issues all around the Boston area.  It was an amazing class for me and then I served as the TA for the class this past year. 

HC: Do you have any advice for rising seniors?

AF: Just make the most of your senior year.  Spend time with your friends and don’t worry too much about the job search.  Even though it seems like you should be focusing all your time on it, definitely take time to enjoy your last moments at Brandeis, because before you know it’ll be over. 

HC: Do you have any exciting post grad plans?

AF: Yeah, I’ll be working as the Social Justice Specialist at U. Mass Amherst Hillel next year. In this role I’ll be helping connect Jewish students to social justice and community service opportunities.

HC: What’s an impossible dream you have?

AF: I really hope that someday we can—this is really difficult, but someday better redistribute food in the world.  A lot of people are hungry and a lot of food goes to waste—there’s a disconnect there because we definitely have enough food for everyone in the world.  So making sure that everyone gets fed the right amount, that would be an amazing, amazing dream. I hope it’s not impossible and I hope to one day work to solve it, but it’s definitely a while away.

HC: What superhero power would you want if you had to choose one? 

AF: I would be able to speak and understand every language because I love learning about different cultures, but I’m really bad about languages so if I could understand people from across the world, then I could communicate and learn what their lives are like.

Fun Facts:

Favorite Ice Cream - Oh I love mint chocolate chip!

Favorite Animal - Tardigrade. It’s a tiny, tiny micro size animal and it survived all mass extinctions. 

Favorite Movie - I actually don’t watch movies too often. 

Guilty Pleasure Food - I really like Chocolate. 

Favorite Spot on Campus - This is like really weird, but I really like the mailroom bathroom. It’s the nicest bathroom. 

Top Travel Destination - It’s my goal to visit all seven continents, so if I could go to Africa, that would be amazing!