Student Profile: Vivian Chang *17

vivian chang
Posted on December 22, 2016

Class Year: *2017 (second-year MPA student)

Major: Woodrow Wilson School

GreenLeader group affiliation and/or sustainability initiative: Woodrow Wilson Action Committee (WWAC) Sustainability Chair, Princeton Sustainability Committee graduate representative, Princeton University Farmers' Market, Dining Advisory Board 

How do you define sustainability? Sustainability unites issues of environmental conservation, social equity, and economic development. We cannot produce long-term sustainability if processes are not socially and economically just as well as environmentally robust. 

Why did you decide to get involved in these initiatives?  Environmental issues have always been a major concern for me, especially given the impact that degraded environmental conditions have on life outcomes. Many issues of social justice that I've worked on--education, immigration, poverty--are inextricably tied to the physical environment. At Princeton, I am applying innovative approaches to processes and culture around sustainability, to effect change through behavior.

How has your leadership role shaped your experience at Princeton? Being involved in sustainability initiatives at Princeton has allowed me to influence systems and work on new projects. In the Woodrow Wilson School, we implemented a new policy this year to stop purchases of plastic water bottles for events hosted in Robertson Hall. Given the high number of seminars and public events held at WWS daily, this policy change has a large impact on plastic waste, as well as public awareness around changing default behaviors to increase sustainability. Serving as the Sustainability Chair has been great experience in integrating policy practices from the classroom into tangible applications on campus.

Being involved in other sustainability initiatives, including the Princeton Sustainability Committee and projects like the Farmers' Market and Tiger Chef Challenge, has brought me to meet amazing leaders across campus. Sustainability is a unifying force and integral to other long-term goals. Having the opportunity to engage with students, faculty, and staff on these topics has enriched my Princeton experience.