Spring 2023 Practicing Sustainability Class.
Photo taken by Jarek Campbell.
Dr. Eranga Galappaththi
Practicing sustainability must be a collective effort toward common challenges. Such sustainability challenges that we all are part of include climate change, food insecurity, and ocean pollution. As a researcher working with Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic and tropical parts of the world, I have witnessed these issues and am somewhat optimistic about the solutions.
We need a change. The change from unsustainable to sustainable. Why can’t people change? The unsustainable world we created is a product of our unsustainable thinking. Your actions are the children of your thoughts. To practice sustainability, you have to think sustainable. Going beyond conventional teaching approaches, we train our students to think sustainably by engaging in various projects and leadership activities. Co-learning is a critical component to this approach.
Sustainability is an integral part of my research. My research is aimed primarily at the social dimensions of human-nature systems. I am particularly interested in climate change adaptation, with a major focus on how Indigenous communities and their local food systems experience and adjust to change.
Dr. Tom Crawford
Geography Department Chair & Professor
Sustainability is one of the 21st century’s grand challenges that requires leaders to develop and implement practices that enable humans to thrive economically and socially over generations while ensuring healthy ecosystems that provide for current and future populations.
At Virginia Tech, students work with faculty in co-learning environments to promote sustainable practices. The course, Practicing Sustainability, is the capstone course in the Pathways to Sustainability minor. It is a platform where students work collaboratively to synthesize and integrate knowledge from their prior sustainability coursework to put into practice the principles and application of sustainability science. They do so via student-designed and student-led applied projects examining specific local and regional sustainability issues on the Virginia Tech campus, in the New River Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Department of Geography is proud of the student accomplishments represented here and are confident that our students are poised to make demonstrable progress towards a sustainable future that contributes in meaningful ways to achieving Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
I'm Sithuni Mimasha, a master's student in the Department of Geography. Working as a teaching assistant for the Practicing Sustainability course has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, particularly due to the opportunity it has afforded me to work closely with the students and gain valuable experience along the way. I have come across some fascinating areas of sustainability that I would suggest exploring. I'm practicing the concept of sustainability in several ways. One example is that I'm concerned about minimizing waste generation by using products and resources efficiently and effectively. Moreover, I'm keen on recycled and reused materials that can also help to conserve natural resources and reduce carbon emissions. Personally, my favorite sustainable development goal is reduced inequalities, as it holds the power to create a more equitable world for all individuals.
I’m Indunil Dharmasiri, a second-year master’s student in Geography and a teaching assistant in the course practicing sustainability. I endeavor to practice sustainability in my day-to-day life by adopting eco-friendly habits, such as using reusable grocery bags, opting for walking or public transportation and minimizing food waste. I’m interested in exploring the field of sustainable entrepreneurship, which is gaining traction as an innovative approach to creating businesses that are both financially viable and environmentally sustainable. I am keen on investigating the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainable entrepreneurship and identifying strategies to overcome them. Of the 17 UN sustainable development goals, I find goal 13, climate action, to be particularly timely and relevant. We must take concrete and urgent measures to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters and integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning since climate change is a global challenge that profoundly affects the environment, human health, and economic and social well-being.
Hi! My name is Maeve and I am a senior majoring in Interior Design and minoring in Sustainability. I practice sustainability by avoiding single use plastics and walking as my main transportation method.
I am Gayanthi Anuradha, a graduate student in the Department of Geography. My research interests are; Climate change, Food security, and Rural sociology. In my research, I am trying to apply sustainability concepts to mitigate global issues like food security and climate change.
My name is Caro Witte and I am a senior studying Public Relations. I enjoy (trying) to eat local as much as possible by shopping at the Blacksburg Farmers Market!
Fashion Design & Merchandising
Hi, my name is Brooke Evans. I am a senior in Fashion Design and Merchandising, and I am minoring in Pathways to Sustainability. One sustainable effort I do is to incorporate reused materials and garments in the clothing I make for myself and my classes.
Animal and Poultry Sciences
My name is Amber Fleming and I am a senior studying Animal and Poultry Sciences with a minor in Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite ways to be sustainable is by thrifting clothes and supporting local businesses.
Management Consulting & Analytics
Hi! I'm Emily. I am a senior majoring in Management Consulting & Analytics (MCA), and minoring in Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is to spend time outdoors in ways like walking, running, or biking. By choosing to walk rather than drive, I actively reduce my carbon footprint and get to enjoy nature. A win-win :)
I am Hunter Cutting and I am a senior in Interior Design. My favorite way to be sustainable is collecting and growing my own food and fuel for heat.
I'm Thomas Newsome, an undergrad student at Virginia Tech majoring in geography with minors in practicing sustainability and GIS. Some of my favorite ways to practice sustianblity is to limit my personal vehicle usage by taking public transporation. I also try to apply critical thinking to every converstation to better understand where people are coming from so it is easier to reach a common goal.
Hi, my name is Kyla Given. I am a senior studying Sustainable Biomaterials and my favorite way to be sustainable is by being a responsible consumer and only buying things that I need.
My name is Hannah, I'm a senior Geography major with minors in Sociology and Pathways to Sustainability! My favorite way to practice sustainability is to advocate for gender equality by raising awareness about period poverty and stigma.
My name is Anna Capper. I am an architecture thesis student. I enjoy making recycled paper from paper and cardboard boxes.
My name is Abigail Peck. I am currently a senior studying Chemistry. My favorite way to be sustainable is composting to reduce waste and use to grow food and plants.
Hey! My name is Kelly and I'm a senior studying interior design. My favorite way to be sustainable is buying my food from local farmers. Not only do I love the quality and freshness of the food, but going to the farmer's market with my friends has become a favorite part of my weekends!
My name is Ellie Anderson. I am a senior finance major with a sustainability minor! My favorite way to be sustainable is to thrift clothes.
Water Resources & Policy Management
Hi, my name is Robert. I am a 3rd year and my major is Water Resources Policy and Management. My favorite way to be sustainable is by saving water in any way I can.
Hi! My name is Emma Babiec and I'm a senior majoring in Marketing Management with a minor in Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is using public transportation/walking, using reusable bags, and promoting the use of renewable energy! I also like talking to people about how sustainability can relate to almost every major or discipline in academics
Environmental Conservation & Society, Public Health
My name is Kristen, and I am a senior pursuing a dual degree in Environmental Conservation & Society and Public Health. I like to use sustainable products in my daily life, whether that be skincare, food, or clothing.
My name is Mars Eagleson. I am a 5th year architecture student. I practice sustainability everyday through my vegan lifestyle and thrifting 90% of my clothes.
Business Information Technology
Hi! I'm Kora Kane. I'm a senior studying Business Information Technology with minors in strategic communications and sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is to buy clothes secondhand, rent clothes, or to purchase clothes firsthand from sustainable companies!
I am Chrishma Dharshani Perera and I am getting my Masters in Geography. My favorite way to be sustainable is focusing on reducing my personal carbon footprint through my lifestyle choices.
My name is Taylor Umbarger and I am a senior studying Agricultural Business with a minor in Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite ways to incorporate sustainability into my life is finding ways to reuse containers as planters and grow my own herbs for cooking.
I’m Anna DiCarlo and I'm a senior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is eating local foods!
Fashion Merchandising & Design
My name is Lily Spear, I am a senior and my major is Fashion Merchandising and Design with minors in Spanish and Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is to practice lessen consumption habits and focus on making informed purchases.
Hey! My name is Annelise Miller. I am a senior in Biochemistry minoring in Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is only buying things that I need and being more aware of what I am consuming.
My name is Elimma Aguolu and I'm a senior at Virginia Tech. I am majoring in Interior Design with a double minor in Residential Environments and Pathways to Sustainability. My favorite way to be sustainable is through my design work, making sure the material finishes are as sustainable as possible.
My name is Lily Espino, and I am a 5th year architecture student minoring in sustainability! My favorite way to be sustainable is to bike as my main mode of transportation.