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Campus Celebrity: Bekke Muench, A Green Queen

Full Name: Rebekke Muench

Year: Senior

Age: 21

Major: Environmental Biology

Minor: Spanish and Leadership Studies

Hometown: “Clifton Park, NY… my family lives in Glen Allen, VA now.”

What are some of your hobbies?: “Hiking, soccer, volunteering, adventuring/trying new things and experiences and learning all things sustainability.”

What organizations are you involved with on campus?: “My roommate would tell you ‘everything.’  I will just say the ones that I am most passionate about… Green Team, Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, and Honor Council.”

What are your passions?: “In general, I am most passionate about making an impact. It may sound a bit cliché, but I live each day to try to have a positive impact on someone’s life; even if it is as simple as a hug or kind word. For me, this includes being aware of my actions and their effects on others, not just the people today but in the future.”

How would you describe the world “sustainability”?: “Sustainability applies to various disciplines and aspects of life. In a general sense, to me it means allowing for future generations to enjoy the gifts we have today. For the environment, it means not using all our resources as well as being responsible and intentional in our actions. The only way to live a life of sustainability is through intentionality and awareness of our actions.”

Who or what is your source of inspiration?: “My dad is my main source of inspiration in all things sustainability. While growing up, my dad’s saying (which he passed down from his dad) was to “always leave a place better than we found it.” Therefore, when we go on our weekly hikes through the woods along the creek near my backyard we always bring trash bags with us to clean up trash that we find along the creek bank.

As I grew up my dad taught me about solar energy, sustainable technology, and their importance. He and my mom have continued to support me in my endeavors. One of my favorite parts of going home is getting lunch with my dad and bouncing my new ideas off of him. Every day he continues to inspire me to strive towards a world that lives sustainably.”

How did you become involved in sustainability?: “My interest in sustainability started with my family creekside walks. However, I didn’t become involved in the movement/cause until college when I realized that things like recycling, reusing old jam jars, and park clean ups were not the “normal” in most households. As soon as I realized that, I sought out like-minded people and an organization that would help me with educating individuals about the importance of sustainability on campus and in our community.”

What’s been your biggest accomplishment at CNU (so far)?: “That’s a tough one. I would say something I am most excited about is the Green Team that exists today. There is so much passion and drive in the organization and I cannot wait to see what these amazing individuals will do. Along these lines, I love some of the new traditions and annual events that I had the honor of being a part of starting, like the first ever PARK(ing) Day in Newport News or some of the campaigns we have worked on as part of community education and outreach.”

As you reach your final weeks here at CNU, do you have any final plans involving sustainability on campus?: “Yes! I am so excited for the coming month and rest of the semester. First of all, one project I have been working on all year is coming to its final day. The first Newport News Marathon will be a VA Green certified event and I cannot wait to see it all unfold. Of course I am excited about the Farmers Markets (as always). But one thing I am very excited about is the launching of our sustainable eating challenge – each day we will challenge students and the community to cut out a specific piece of their meal (like meatless Monday) and we will have them use a fun hashtag with it. As part of this we will also have #wastelesswednesday which I am super stoked about. We will be launching this during the challenge then continue using it every Wednesday to give tips to people on simple ways to live a bit more sustainably.”

What are your hopes for the future of sustainability at CNU?: “I hope to see the momentum continue and to have more and more people aware of the importance of sustainability. CNU has made many steps in the right direction, but there is always room for improvement. My hope is that no one accepts the status quo and becomes static, rather we continue to strive for more and become a University noted for its unique sustainability initiatives.”

Tell us about your post graduation plans!: “I am hoping to get a job in Richmond in the sustainability field. I plan on continuing my education after a year off to hopefully work in environmental regulations or outreach. Although, who knows, I plan on going abroad after I have an established job and more expertise, but I may end up doing that earlier than originally planned. I have learned to expect the unexpected.”

Hey there, reader, my name is Colleen! I am a biology and leadership studies student at Christopher Newport University. My passions lie within the environmental realm, feminism, activism, and pretty much any of social justice and economic movements. I also love dancing (I'm in a kick ass, all girls hip hop group called Hypnotic Control and danced competitively in the ballroom world), climbing (bouldering has screwed me up so I top rope nowadays), and being loud (I can't help my voice levels sometimes, especially when I'm excited). My goal on this site is to promote feminism for what it really is: equality of the genders. I also aim to demonstrate how the environmental movement is a movement of movements. Issues such as racial inequality, student debt, anti-abortion laws...they all have similar roots that tie them to environmental justice. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!
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