As the student sustainability assistant, Alexa Russo became an integral part of UW Bothell's sustainability work. So integral, that after graduating she was asked to stay on as UW Bothell's interim sustainability coordinator.
Alexa was first introduced to Bothell’s Sustainability Office at a club fair on campus. What was a quick casual chat with the then-Sustainability Coordinator Cassie Lubenow sparked a relationship with the office that outlasted her student career.
As UW Bothell’s Student Sustainability Assistant, Alexa went above and beyond her expected duties within the office. She managed all communication platforms that connect the UW Bothell community to the Sustainability Office, founded the Sustainability Educators Program, and played a key role in coordinating the last two Earth Week events on campus. Her dedication to promoting and increasing awareness on campus has been evident over the past two years within and outside the office.
Since that initial club fair, Alexa has become involved with a range of student groups, started her own initiative around pollinators, and helped to create the Sustainability Strategic Plan. Her efforts around sustainability at UW Bothell earned her a 2018 Husky Green Award, which highlight individuals, groups, and student groups across UW colleges who have made a significant impact on increasing sustainability efforts.
Reflecting back, Alexa says that she was always interested in becoming a teacher, but had never considered pursuing a career in sustainability.
“It was never really on my radar before," she said. "However, as a kid I was really into recycling and remember protesting a tree that was cut down outside my window.”
It was not until she transferred to UW Bothell from Cascadia College that her casual interests in sustainability morphed into something larger. She began to take classes on oceanography, environmental sciences and conservation and realized how natural it seemed to feel for her.
Her proudest achievement to date is her work on the Sustainability Strategic Plan, a five-year plan that outlines how UW Bothell will increase its environmental awareness and decrease their overall carbon footprint. From capturing rainwater and using it in the landscape to building partnerships with community partners, this document brings forth new initiatives that work with the community to bring environmentally-forward changes to campus.
“There are a lot of opportunities on campus that are somewhat hidden," she said. "Many people don’t find out about them because we’re a commuter campus and it’s hard to get that engagement, so I didn’t know about it until I was a senior and then quickly became heavily involved.”
Photos by Lucas Boland and Jayna Milan