Student Spotlight: Sarah Abroms

Sarah Abroms

Photo credit: Mark Stehle

PRIME LOCATION: Starting this summer, Abroms will work with Penn’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) to help devise a plan to make the University carbon neutral. Previously, she worked on the communications and waste management and recycling subcommittees. She helped establish the University’s sustainability website, providing a student perspective.

ZERO SUM: “First we want to reduce our energy consumption so we emit less carbon,” says Abroms, a senior majoring in biology. “Once we’ve reduced as much as we can, we’re still going to be emitting some carbon so we’ll buy carbon offsets, such as the wind power purchasing. That’s an offset because that’s renewable energy. That doesn’t admit any carbon. Or buying land to plant trees.”

TWO TO ONE: ESAC’s recycling committee wants to make recycling easier and more user-friendly because, according to Abroms, “recycling [at Penn] is not user-friendly. Next to every trashcan, there should be two recycling bins,” she says. “Or you should never have a recycling bin without a trash can next to it or else it will get contaminated.”

THE ABROMS REPORT: Abroms also informs student groups about Penn’s past, present and future sustainability efforts. “Every single time I finish, everyone’s like, ‘I had no idea Penn was doing all that,’” she says.

FIVE GOOD MINUTES: On Penn’s sustainability website, Abroms hosts the podcast, “Five Minutes to a Greener Campus,” where she offers sustainability tips.

A SIMPLE PLAN: “Think about how many cups of coffee you throw away,” Abroms says. “If you buy a cup from Starbucks every single day, you throw it out every single day, think about every year adding 365 cups of Starbucks coffee going in a landfill. Had you brought your own, you would have just taken away all of those cups out of the landfill.”

NEVER FORGET: The grandchild of two Holocaust survivors, Abroms is a member of Penn’s Holocaust Education Committee. “The thing about the Holocaust is it’s more than just the idea that it was an event. There were a lot of different things that [factored] into why it happened, what made it possible for that kind of event to occur, how we should avoid it from happening it again.”

DR. ABROMS: After taking a year off, Abroms plans to attend medical school and become a primary care physician. “For me, [it’s] however I can make the biggest contribution,” she says. “We don’t have enough primary care physicians, so I feel like I would be very useful in that way.”

Originally published May 8, 2008

Originally published on May 8, 2008