Rhea Singh is a 3rd year student double majoring in Environmental Studies and Entrepreneurship. She is the Internship Director in the USAC (Undergraduate Student Association Council) Office of the President, a Bruin Ambassador in the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions Office, an intern in Startup UCLA, and an intern at the Stevens Estate at Osgood Hill in Massachusetts.
Her Campus: What motivated you to major in Environmental Studies and Entrepreneurship?
Rhea Singh: I want to make sustainability profitable. The biggest problem affecting the entire world today is, without a doubt, climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report, which states that by 2100 the world will have warmed 4℃, which will be catastrophic for all humans and our ecosystems. Therefore, I feel that the best way to approach this problem is by steering businesses towards environmentally sustainable practices. This is easier said than done, which is why I decided to pair environmental studies with entrepreneurship to learn about how businesses work and the best way to help them.
HC: There is a negative stigma when talking about businesses and their impact on the environment. How do you hope to use the knowledge from your double major to change this?
RS: I think that it is very easy to antagonize businesses when they are not environmentally friendly, but it is also important to realize that businesses are a source of income for many people and even a slight increase in costs can impact their profit. There are companies that do have the funds to increase costs for the sake of sustainability, but for many it is a difficult decision. This is one of the reasons I chose to combine environmental studies and entrepreneurship - to gain a greater understanding of how a business works and the best way to implement sustainability into their business model.
HC: You seem to be extremely involved in UCLA. Out of all the organizations you are a part of, which has made the biggest impact on you?
RS: I love all of these organizations, but I think it would have to be Bruin Ambassadors. This position allows me to visit nearby Los Angeles high schools and represent UCLA at college fairs. This is an extremely rewarding opportunity because it allows me to speak to prospective UCLA students and make a difference in their lives. Additionally, many of the students we speak to do not think that they can go to college, let alone UCLA. Therefore, it is our job to help these students manage the college application process and help them make their dream a reality. This position made me truly appreciate UCLA and understand how being nice and helpful can truly make a difference in someone’s life.
HC: You also intern at the Stevens Estate! What skills have you gained from organizations on campus that you have applied to your internship?
RS: I think the biggest thing I have gained from these organizations is people skills. I was an event managing intern, where I mostly helped manage and plan weddings. Weddings are usually the best and most stressful event in someone’s life; therefore, an event manager needs to be calm, confident and have the ability to work with many different types of people. Additionally, I implemented a room called the “Pinterest Room” at the estate. When people have weddings, they buy a lot of decorations, such as vases, table cards, and signs, but after the wedding they usually do not take them home. This ended up with the Estate having a lot of decorations that were just shoved into a back room. This amount of waste bothered me, so I came up with the idea of showcasing all of it and allowing people with upcoming events to come in and pick some stuff to use. This eliminated the amount of money they would have to spend during their event and is a more sustainable option to decorating.
HC: As a third year student, do you have any advice for students who still feel like they need to find their place on campus?
RS: This is definitely something I struggled with as a first-year. The best piece of advice I can give is always pay attention to opportunities on campus. Whether it’s a flier on Bruin Walk or someone who comes to speak to your class, there are a countless number of ways to get involved on campus and pursue a passion of yours. Therefore, I always say to pay attention to what is going on around campus and if you hear something that interests you, then follow through with it. That one extra minute you spend on Bruin Walk could lead to you being involved in an organization that becomes your second home.
HC: What is your college mantra?
RS: Study smart, don’t study hard. To better explain this. College, especially UCLA, is full of opportunities and organizations and it is very possible to become overwhelmed and feel that you need to do everything. Therefore, I think it is so important to prioritize yourself and the things that you are truly passionate about.