Whether she’s tending to her various house plants, or working on Student Government resolutions, Katryna Johnson has sustainability at the forefront of nearly everything she does as the Senator for Sustainability in Associated Students (AS) Government. Katryna’s interest in the environment and sustainability began at a young age with frequent hikes with her father, and practices like recycling normalized in her upbringing. “It was the bare minimum...recycling was like eating--you just have to do it,” she recalls. But, it wasn’t until her senior year in high school in her AP Environmental Science class, that sustainability and the environment would become a passion.
Now a senior in the Geography, Environment, and Planning (GEP) department, Katryna wants to use her experience in Student Government and her studies at SSU to pursue work in local government and environmental policy. She states, “I did an internship at city hall [in San Jose] and I got an invitation to go back...if I could focus on any topic in government--local or even bigger government--it would be regulations or subsidies around residential solar.”
Katryna has been elected as Senator for Sustainability for the second year in a row, and in Spring 2019 had plans approved to install a new pollinator habitat garden on the south side of Ives Hall. However, COVID-19 has derailed any initiatives for the garden to happen in Fall 2020, but Katryna hopes even with online learning next semester, she can get it going again and eventually have volunteers help plant. Currently, she’s working on getting approval to develop a website for an upcoming Student Sustainability Center in our university library. Katryna describes the website as, “...an extension of the Student Sustainability Center, the physical one...It’s supposed to be a way for prospective students to look at what we’re actually doing currently [specifically] on campus.” With current and prospective students in various parts of the world, she hopes this website can be a virtual space for students to interact and connect with environmental and sustainable projects, programs, and clubs/organizations at SSU.
No matter how big or small, Katryna believes “Your decisions do matter...my thing in my head is like, everyone can’t do it if I don’t do it. There’s this idea that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to influence other people to make little changes, and well I have to be the one to make changes too because I’m [also] ‘people.’” If interested in getting involved with sustainability efforts at SSU, Katryna Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Marian Mejia, Sustainability Communications Assistant