Alumni Profile: Jonathan Butler '92

Jonathan Butler
Posted on December 8, 2015

 Class year: 1992

Major: History

Professional role and organization: Co-Founder, Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg

How do you define sustainability? When we launched our giant outdoor food market Smorgasburg in 2011, we felt it was extremely important to look at the waste we would be generating. In addition to regular recycling, we ended up creating one of the biggest composting programs in New York City by requiring all hundred or so food vendors to use only compostable materials.

How does your work relate to sustainability and how did Princeton prepare you for your role? The culture of public service was embedded in the DNA of Princeton and so even though I was embarrassingly unengaged at the time, the idea of being a good citizen and caring about your community must have seeped into me through osmosis!

What advice would you offer to students seeking to focus on or incorporate sustainability in their careers? There are lots of companies that have positions specifically focused on sustainability. In addition, the idea that making money and being a responsible member of society are mutually exclusive is becoming a thing of the past. In fact, companies like Etsy have adopted a new kind of corporate designation called a B Corp which specifically allows them to pursue altruistic goals alongside profits.