Eco Leaders are peer educators in the residence halls and Aggie Village apartments who help raise awareness about sustainability issues and encourage environmentally-responsible behaviors throughout the academic year. There is one Eco Leader per residence hall and several at Aggie Village who engages campus residents in sustainability areas such as waste reduction, energy conservation, sustainable transportation, and recycling and composting. The Eco Leader program in the halls also has an academic component with a mandatory class each Thursday from 4pm-5:15pm. Eco Leaders earn credits for the course and receive a housing stipend for their engagement efforts. The Eco Leaders program started in 2011 and has grown each year since.
Academic year commitment (Eco Leaders must commit to fall and spring semesters)
Commit 5 hours per week to peer-to-peer sustainability engagement to receive a $1,500 housing reimbursement per semester (pending successful completion of program requirements)
Attend a mandatory class on Thursdays from 4pm to 5:15pm (fall course is GES130: Introduction to Sustainability Engagement for one credit and the spring course is GES330: Sustainability in Practice for 2-3 credits).
Participate in service learning and local volunteering opportunities
Attend training August 18 -23 including an overnight retreat at the CSU Mountain Campus
Promote multiple student engagement campaigns and events at the same time
Gain knowledge on a variety of topics related to sustainability including social justice, the environment, and the economy
Eco Leader – 2013-2014 Class of 2016 Degree- BA in Economics
Testimony: “After the Ecoleaders program, I went on to write legislation to bring the on-campus shuttle “Around the horn” to campus and find funding for more blue recycle bins on campus. I used the knowledge I gained in the Ecoleaders Program to better argue for such initiatives and understand the benefit they bring to society and the planet. The program also enhanced my studies as an Economics major in classes such as Environmental Economics and my senior seminar which centered on Climate Change mitigation. During the Ecoleaders program, I also gained the experience of knocking on doors and engaging my hall mates in discussions around sustainability. This experience is directly applicable to my role as a Wells Fargo Banker where I strive to help people succeed financially and my latest endeavor of running for Mayor of Fort Collins.”
Eco Leader – 2012-2013 Class of 2016 Degree- BS in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Bio: Nick is working towards a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at CSU. Although he is still open to the diverse opportunities within veterinary medicine, Nick is keenly interested in working towards improving the health of humans, animals, and the environmental – to be a champion for One Health. Between finishing his undergrad and starting vet school, he worked as a summer research fellow at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. Nick worked in the Wildlife Disease Labs focusing on improving the health of animals by working to remove disease as a roadblock to conservation. When not in class, he works at the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center on a variety of projects focusing on wildlife health, and enjoys exploring the great outdoors throughout Colorado.
Testimony: “The Eco Leaders program gave me an incredible opportunity to become involved in the CSU community in a meaningful way. I really enjoyed growing in my understanding of sustainability, working to make CSU greener, and gaining some awesome fellow Eco Leader friends.”
Eco Leader – 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 Class of 2014 BS in Rangeland Ecology
Bio: Ariana Gloria graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Rangeland Ecology. Currently she is working as an Arizona Cooperative Rangeland Monitoring Program (ACRMP) Research Specialist for The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Bureau of Land Management (as a contractor). In this position, her goal is to provide one-on-one rancher education and coordinate rangeland monitoring activities with grazing permittees and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) personnel. The ACRMP is a collaborative effort between the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the Bureau of Land Management. This program encourages extension personnel, agency staff and grazing permittees of the County to come together to monitor the range and participate in educational rangeland activities to better understand each other and the land with the goal of more sustainable management of Arizona’s vital rangelands.
In the past, Ariana has worked as an ecological restoration technician for a private ecological restoration consulting firm, a Bureau of Land Management intern (for Post-Fire vegetation rehab) in southeast Oregon, a botany technician (for the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project, a 100-yearlong study) with the University of Missouri and Missouri Department of Conservation, and as a volunteer for Wildlands Restoration Volunteers and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
In her spare time, she loves to go outdoors and hike, read about other countries and cultures (both fiction and non-fiction), learn more about ecological restoration (my true aspirational career), botanize and collect plants for my personal herbarium, work on her plant identification skills and most recently stitch intricate colorful earrings (brick stitch, peyote stitch, applique stitch, etc.) with seed beads.
Testimony: “I truly believe a lot of my former and current pursuits can be traced back to the knowledge and experiences I gained and developed as a Colorado State University Eco-Leader (for two years). The Eco-Leaders program has had a profound and lasting impact on my day to day actions in the way that it has given me the knowledge, encouragement and support needed to live as environmentally responsible as I can and be a positive example to those around me. The weekly discussions and formal debates about topics surrounding the environment, society and the economy certainly sparked my interest in what sustainability really means and has encouraged me ever since to continue to learn as much as I can about those topics to incorporate positive and impactful environmentally, socially and economically just decisions into my personal and work life. My experience as a sustainability peer-educator has also helped me in my current position immensely since I now educate ranchers about sustainable grazing management. As an Eco-Leader (especially with the Green Warrior program) I learned how to be encouraging while educating people and how to pick up on and highlight the good practices/habits they are already performing (positive reinforcement) to get their trust and open up to learning new practices/habits. Another positive thing about the Eco-Leaders program is that it pushed me to think critically and understand issues from all sides, not just the loudest side. I am grateful for my two years spent as an Eco-Leader for CSU and I am glad to learn more about its continuation and how the program is progressing. I would also love to give back to the program and hope (with my move back to Colorado in the next year or two) to be a part of the program again in some way.”
Eco Leader – 2012-2013 Class of 2016 Degree- BS in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism concentration in Environmental Communication
Bio: After graduation from CSU, Hannah went to work for a nonprofit organization called Environment Colorado. Her position was the Global Warming Solutions Campaign Director in Denver and focused on creating awareness and support for the Clean Power Plan in Colorado and throughout the nation. During her term, her strategic focus was on health professionals and mothers as these segments have been identified as showing considerable amounts of concern about the health impacts caused by global warming and climate change. Hannah was involved with planning events, obtaining signatures on petitions, writing opinion editorials, and training and managing CSU interns to do the same things in Fort Collins. After her time with Environment Colorado, Hannah moved back to Fort Collins. Hannah now works at a tennis club as a coach and office manager in Windsor and finished a summer term with the Larimer County Conservation Corps where she served as the Agircorps Mentor. She is now pursuing a position as a race director and would like to expand the model that Green Events LLC uses in Fort Collins to create and manage zero waste running events.
Testimony: “Being a part of the Eco Leader program gave me valuable leadership experiences that I was able to continually develop while also equipping me with a base knowledge of the environmental issues our world is facing today and how to best communicate those issues as well as solutions with my peers.”
Eco Leader – 2011-2012 & 2012- 2013 Class of 2015 Degree – BA in Journalism and Media Communication
Bio: After graduation from CSU, Cheyenne had the opportunity to work as a photographer at Disney World. She worked in the Animal Kingdom park and took pictures of both guests and animals. Cheyenne was the recipient of a regional Emmy award in 2014 for a long-form non-fiction video that she co-produced. The documentary was about an 83-year-old man who has the world’s largest collection of washing machines. She has also been commissioned by PBS to take photographs for a documentary television series on the history of recorded music. Cheyenne is currently living in Portland, Oregon and working at a record store, hosting a radio show, and doing freelance video work.
Testimony: “I learned so much about the importance of sustainability during my two years in the Eco Leader program. My passion for preserving our earth’s resources and the eco-conscious mentality that I developed during the program have influenced a lot of my major life choices–it was important for me to choose a city to live in that cares about the environment and to work with organizations that are environmentally conscious. Being a part of Eco Leaders was a highlight of my college experience, and because of the program I’ve developed life-long habits that are good for me and good for the planet!”
Eco Leader member 2013-14 Peer Mentor 2014-2015 Class of 2016 Degree – Bachelors of Science in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Bio: After graduating, Christina moved to her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to live with family and considered taking a gap year. After a brief online job search, she found herself applying for a sustainability position at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. A month later she was proudly wearing her AmeriCorps gear at the swearing in ceremony, with the title of Sustainability Engagement Member. AmeriCorps is a 1-year service program that connects community needs with members, in education, environment, health, and public safety. Members receive an education award at the end of the service term along with a modest living allowance.
Did you know that Cincinnati Zoo was ranked as the Greenest Zoo in America? Part of Christina’s position is sharing the sustainability story and encouraging visitors to make their lives a little greener by creating fun and engaging programs on zoo grounds and at special events throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. Additionally, she teaches with an afterschool club at a nearby elementary school: The Green Team, where students get to be environmental stewards in their own backyards. Her talks and class sessions include how to be a friend to pollinators, recycling, vermicomposting, and all-around green living. She believes that through environmental education (with the help of some amazing animals), individual behavior changes can lead Cincinnatians to a greener future.
Testimony: “Becoming a peer educator through the Eco Leaders program taught me how to have tough conversations with people—often, behavior is very hard to change. I learned how to be positive, motivating, and most importantly empowering. If folks are empowered to change something in their life and feel good about what they are doing for the planet, they are more likely to share that with others. Every day at the Zoo, I use skills and information I gained through the Eco Leaders program, whether that be planning a booth at the annual Cincinnati Earth Day Festival, or simply getting my students excited about compost.”