Eco Warrior—Jasmin Rostamnezhad
Please tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am grew up outside of Boston and went to high school in Vermont. I am 28 years old and graduated Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies. I work for Austin Community College's Office of Energy & Sustainability as Sustainability Coordinator for the district - 11 campuses and 2 administrative buildings.
How do you work towards conservation efforts in your community?
After leaving college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the environmental field. I started at a non-profit, Earthwatch, that does environmental conservation research across the globe. I worked with corporate employees, students, and teachers - finding the research trip that suited them and helped them come up with sustainability projects on their return. After having this experience, I realized I wanted to have more of an impact locally - so I could see what changes I was making each day. That brought me to ACC about 2 years ago. At Austin Community College I focus on primarily waste management - I develop and maintain waste management projects and educate students, faculty, and staff on how they can get involved and have less of an impact on our planet. I work with our warehouse team to keep items out of the landfill, coordinate outside-the-box recycling programs at each campus, provide volunteer opportunities for our Green Teams, host zero waste events that educate participants on how to properly dispose of their waste, and more. I use our department's social media platform to reach out beyond ACC and share tips, ideas, and news to the wider community. I have made it my mission in life to have a positive impact on our environment each and every day and I am lucky enough to be able to do that through the work that I do.
Based off all that you have seen on the job, what is one eco-tip you would like others to pick up on?
My ecotip list is unbelievably long, but I will narrow it down! I would encourage everyone to take a look and evaluate the products they use each day. Avoid depending on recycling (that is often done incorrectly) and choose items that have less waste - minimal packaging, reusable items, second hand items. Taking this small extra effort can significantly reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill. For items that do produce waste, I would encourage any/everyone to educate yourselves on recycling/composting. If you are recycling incorrectly, you are really doing more harm than good as it forces recycling facilities to take additional time to sort out non-recyclable items and time = $. Take the time to check out your local waste hauler's website and see what recyclable items they accept.