Willamette’s Footprint: Profiles
Jody Lowes: Working Towards a Smaller “Shoe Size”
While growing up in Vermont, says Jody, “the woods around my house seemed more like home than my house did.” What began as an affinity for the natural world has evolved during her time at Willamette into a personal quest to promote sustainable environmental practices through community activism and education.
The sophomore Environmental Science major recently received a Sustainability Grant from the University to put on an event that informs community members about food production and the social and environmental consequences of Genetically Modified Organisms. It will feature an evening presentation of the documentary “The Future of Food”, and be immediately followed by a panel discussion among experts that work in different areas of agriculture. Jody hopes that the event will encourage both the University and its community members to purchase organic foods and to be more responsible consumers.
This summer, Jody hopes to experience sustainable agriculture first-hand while working at an organic farm in Italy through the Spannocchia Foundation. This is just one example of how she incorporates the ideals that her outreach projects are based on into her own life. This is “something I feel like I struggle with”, says Jody. She notes that it is often difficult to minimize her footprint in a dorm setting because there is not as much control over the living situation as there would be if she lived off-campus. However, small actions such as using her own towels instead of paper ones, not getting to-go containers at Goudy, and turning lights off when leaving a room are a few things among many that she tries to be conscious of.
Jody also serves as the co-president of the Environmental Community Outreach Society (ECOS) and regularly attends meetings of the sustainability council. When asked what she sees as the biggest barrier to change at Willamette she replied without hesitation that it is all about attitudes and behavior. No matter how sustainable we make the facilities on campus it will not have a big enough impact unless people are personally invested. This is a big part of her motivation – in order to minimize Willamette’s Ecological Footprint she is not looking for change solely within the institution but also amongst the individuals that it is comprised of.