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School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 5, 2016

Kayla Bellman laughing in front of red hot air balloonChandler, Arizona native Kayla Bellman graduates from the School of Sustainability in Spring 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in the Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology track. She will also receive a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a Certificate in Human Rights.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability is the action of pursuing a just world. It is an act grander than one person, one community, and one nation. It demands the attention of the global community, immediately.

What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

Growing up, I believed the medical field was the only way to “do good” – all my aunts and uncles are in the medical field. The product of two engineers, I was determined to do just about anything other than engineering.

Over the course of my senior year in high school, I came to the conclusion that environmental work could also fulfill my desire to “do good.” I found the School of Sustainability through a Google search, and I realized the best-of-the-best was in my backyard.

What’s something you learned while at ASU that changed your perspective?

At the School of Sustainability, I learned the importance of community. I always thought of changing the world as an “if not me, then who?” issue. By studying sustainability and engaging in research, I realized sustainability solutions demand cross-disciplinary stakeholders – otherwise known as “we” – as opposed to just “me.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those studying sustainability?

Find people you admire and listen to them. Read about them, set meetings with them and engage with them in any way possible.  Solutions are fostered by coalitions of people who are devoted to solving problems. To be a part of the change, you need to be actively engaged with other people who care about similar things.

How did the School of Sustainability prepare you, personally and professionally?

The School of Sustainability allowed me to engage with the most dedicated students and faculty, gain leadership experience, and most integrally engage in workshops that granted me real-life experience navigating complex sustainability problems.

How are you leading the way to a sustainable future?

After graduation, I am moving to Guatemala to work with Habitat for Humanity in a Donor Relations position.

To date, my most poignant impact in sustainability has been connecting the dots. I strive to connect people with projects, ideas with changemakers, and people with people. I believe in the power of people, and will continue to actively pursue a more united force of changemakers.