Pursue a green career, even if it is not an environmentalist

The second semester is already in full swing and, for our seniors, that may mean figuring out what jobs to apply for and planning their futures. For the underclassmen, it could be nearing that time to look for summer work to build a résumé. It can be hard to find a job that you are passionate about, where you’re making a positive difference in the world that also pays well. Rider has plenty of resources to help students find a career path within their majors, but have you ever thought about jobs in your field for sustainability? 

When I was a kid and someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say, “A marine biologist, so I can learn about and help the fish.” If I knew at 9-years-old what I now know in 2019, I would say “I want to be an environmentalist to learn about and help the fish.” The world is changing and being affected by climate change in a way it never has before and our vulnerable planet could use some warriors. Here, at Rider, we try to incorporate sustainability into everything we do, so why not a job search? 

Sustainability is a pressing topic nowadays. Despite all the efforts, the number of people actually concerned with the issue to the point of taking steps to change it is still low on a global scale. 

According to a study conducted by Yale University and George Mason University, six in 10 Americans believe that climate change is affecting weather in the U.S. What most people don’t realize is that power is in unity and numbers, especially when it comes to sustainability, but younger Americans are starting to get it. According to a January 2018 poll by the Alliance for Market Solutions and Echelon Insights, 77 percent of Americans believe we should work to stop or slow climate change. The words of Mahatma Gandhi, “If you want to change the world, start with yourself,” could not be more fitting here. Currently, so many fields and professions can have a unique approach to the issues of sustainability.

 Aleksandra Terekhova, the graduate assistant in the office of sustainability said, “Studying Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) could not be more beneficial for my job at the Office of Sustainability. Learning what constitutes human behavior, how we function on the behavioral level, what can be done to change our habits and how to get people to act in the right direction are all essential pieces of knowledge that can be applied to the matters of sustainability. Having this experience not only lets me work on something truly meaningful on a bigger scale than individual families, but also provides valuable experience of approaching the common topics of ABA from a completely different angle, making me more 

versatile.”  

This is just one example opportunities for a wide variety of skills that relate to sustainability in a booming job market. 

An article from the University of Wisconsin said that major brands such as Apple, Walmart, Nike and almost every other Fortune 500 company have led the way, making serious commitments to sustainability efforts, including energy reduction, resource conservation, recycling, pollution prevention, waste elimination, transportation efficiency, building design, human rights and community development. 

 Another student who turned her Rider career into a sustainable job opportunity was Jillian Sprat ’14, ’17. She said, “During my time at Rider, I studied environmental science. With that kind of a degree, there’s a wide variety of career options: lab and fieldwork, teaching, consulting, engineering, policy, conservation — and the list goes on. My advice to students now would be to explore all opportunities that spark interest inside them. Something you try for the first time could be what you want to pursue for the rest of your life.” 

To learn about the multitude of job opportunities that have a relationship to sustainability, register for this year’s virtual Eco-Career Conference on February 27th and 28th hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. For more information, visit www.nwfecoleaders.org/conference.

Alison Fisher 

Rider Eco-Rep

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