BUSY BEE: Jasmin Smoots has a lot on her plate—the sophomore is involved in everything from Penn Spectrum and the campus branch of NAACP, to her jobs at the Rodin College House information desk and Kite and Key Society—but through it all, she consciously incorporates sustainable habits into her day-to-day routine. She was recently recognized for her efforts by achieving gold-level Green Living Certification, a new incentive offered through Penn’s Green Campus Partnership.
SEEING GREEN: The Green Living Certification program was introduced in the fall 2013 semester to engage Penn’s student community and inspire them to adopt greener lifestyles. So far, 150 students like Smoots have been awarded certification.
GO FOR THE GOLD: Students must adopt Five Required Actions and answer questions about other lifestyle choices in a questionnaire to be considered for certification. Participants can receive bronze-, silver- and gold-level certification based on the amount of points they earn through participating in activities that exhibit sustainability efforts in waste minimization and recycling, energy and water, transportation, purchasing, and involvement at Penn.
A SUSTAINABLE START: Smoots attended high school at Princeton Day School in Princeton, N.J., where she first became interested in sustainability. “My junior year English teacher kind of changed my perspective to the importance of sustainable living. I think some people think of it as annoying, and I used to think of it that way, but as you learn about ways to incorporate it into your life, you realize how cool it can be.”
IT’S EASY AFTER ALL: Some of the factors considered in completing Green Living Certification have been second nature for Smoots—like donating old clothes rather than throwing them away. “Somebody else needs them, and it’s wasteful of me to let it sit in my closet because I might want to wear it one day, even though I haven’t worn it in the past 365.”
MEET YOUR MEAT: Smoots says one green effort she’s most conscious about is her meat consumption. She only purchases free-range meat and fish, and has been consciously consuming less red meat in her overall diet.
FORGET ABOUT THE PRICE TAG: As a communication major, Smoots says she’s also picked up some of her awareness of environmental issues from her mass media and marketing courses. In one class, “Critical Approaches to Popular Culture,” for instance, she says she’s become mindful of consumerism’s impact on the environment. “I’m guilty of it too—I really want the iPhone 5S. I have the 4S right now—and my phone is not cracked or broken—so I decided not to get the 5S. Little things that aren’t truly going to affect you, but are going to affect the planet, add up.”
Originally published on January 16, 2014