Campus Celeb - Shana Gallagher

Name: Shana Gallagher       

Hometown: Mil Valley, California

Fun Fact: I have a whale tattoo to keep me motivated and remind me of what I’m working for. I’m committed to my cause, “literally”!

Personal Inspiration: Rachel Carson. She’s an example of how one person can make a difference in the environmental movement


Where does your environmental consciousness and zeal come from?

One of the experiences that most influenced me was my first dive in the ocean. When I was ten I was scuba certified in the Philippines, the center of marine diversity in the world. My first plunge underwater was… amazing. I saw the vibrancy of the underwater ecosystem and felt privileged to be able to experience such a unique environment. On that first dive I also encountered a beautiful 30 ft. long shark whale…


That sounds terrifying!

Not at all.  I find whales to be the most beautiful and graceful creatures. Actually, I often compare myself to a beach whale! Some would say “I emerge when you least expect and then crush you beneath me!”


Speaking of whales, I hear you are taking part in an international World Whale Conference.

Of course!  The World Whale Conference is groundbreaking convention that brings together whale and dolphin charities and individuals who aim to protect these animals.

During the two day conference, the group addresses the threats whales and dolphins face, it will tackle case studies to see what efforts have been successful which will be used to formulate a new global direction for the cause.

When I was 15 I volunteered in the Marine Mammal Center in California and helped heal wounded animals before releasing them back into the wild. After seeing dolphins caught in plastic wrap, almost strangled to death, or seals malnourished because of the depletion of fish stocks, I realized that human ignorance is one of the biggest obstacles that we need to tackle. That’s why this conference is so important.


On another note, you’re also participating in the Tufts divest movement. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Divestment is a way for an institution to really make a statement about climate change, bring down industry that’s profiting from destroying an environment, and allow students to be actively involved in global environmental issues.

At the moment Tufts board has agreed to invest 70 million dollars of its endowment in fossil fuels. What we are proposing is to use that money for something else. Although our school’s actions might not weaken the fossil fuel industry directly, it can make a statement and encourage other institutions to follow suit. Although the fossil fuel industry is a lucrative one, it is not a justifiable worry, as other institutions can be equally profitable.


So what now? What is the goal for Tufts divestment group?

            My goal right now is to make Divest a little more mainstream, which can be difficult as a freshman. It’s easy to forget when you live in an insulated college campus that you’re still a citizen of the world, not just a Tufts student. In this way divest is a great way for students to make a difference on a global scale without having to leave campus.

            Apart from the referendum that is happening [this] week, check out the events that are coming up for the “week of action.” There’s going to be movie screenings and rallies and social justice clubs on campus are going to be hosting events outside the lower campus deck to talk about their passions and unite socially conscious individuals.  


That sounds great! We’ll be sure to check it out. Now here’s my last question: What would you consider is your personal goal? What do you hope to achieve in college?

            To be honest, I think at this point it’s too late for anyone not to be an environmentalist. Our generation is gambling with our future by not being environmentally active. I’d like to influence everyone ideally, but, if I could impact even one person to really become environmentally conscious, to speak out in their communities and to want to make a difference in their societies for our benefit, then I would feel accomplished.