Chris is managing the Schools Food Recovery Program this year. He graduated from Housatonic Community College in the spring of 2023 with an Associates of Science in Criminal Justice. Currently a junior at SCSU, he studies Anthropology and Sociology with the hopes of working for the Judicial Branch after graduation. Community service and sustainability have always been important to Chris. Volunteering for events and programs including the Missouri River Relief’s Omaha/Des Moines cleanup effort, where he traveled to Nebraska to remove waste from one of the countries largest, and most polluted, waterways.
Jeremy Kearns is a senior at Southern Connecticut State University in the department of Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences. In the Office of Sustainability, he mainly works in the garden these days, but in the past has done work in food recovery. He is interested in native plants and pollinator interactions, and has done many projects with Monarch butterflies, including raising and releasing caterpillars as well as a survey regarding Monarch butterfly floral preferences. Some of the projects he has participated in at the garden include registering the garden on the Pollinator Pathway and growing and entering a Southern-grown watermelon that won Best Watermelon in 2023 at the Durham Fair, Connecticut's largest agricultural fair.
Hi, my name is Joseph Maverick Merly. I am a junior and history major in the process of getting a sustainability minor because of my wonderful experience working at the Office of Sustainability. Most of the time I am outside helping maintain the garden and helping coordinate off-campus work sessions with community partners like NHS New Haven. I also work in the office creating content about sustainability in general, and topics that relate to our campus and region.
Vanessa is a senior at Southern Connecticut State University where she is majoring in Environmental systems and Sustainability and getting a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Her current research interests are climate adaptation and mitigation, sustainable systems, and the blue economy. Her current position is to manage the Swap Shop and Thrifty Owl where she manages inventory and does some signage
My name is Taylor Marino! I am an alumni and University Assistant (UA) of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). I recently just graduated with a master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure studies. I am currently working at the Sustainability Department here at SCSU’s campus. My role at the office as a UA varies depending on the day and season. Some days I maintain SCSU’s Community Garden in the back of Davis Hall. Other days I am driving around in our office van dropping off food recovery to different soup kitchens and homeless shelters to help feed people in need. Although sometimes it is physically draining, food recovery is one of my favorite aspects of working in the sustainability department. It is amazing to know that most of the food at SCSU does not go to waste and people have consistent places to get food when they are lacking.
Working at the Office of Sustainability at SCSU has been great. Heather Stearns, University Recycling Coordinator; and Suzie Humminski, Sustainability Coordinator have been key role models and have allowed the staff to focus on their interests and strengths when picking areas for projects and interests. They have been a major part of my journey here at SCSU. This past year for the Fall 2022 semester I created a SCSU Garden Manual for the SCSU Sustainability Department to have as a tangible document for all staff, interns, and volunteers to have a resource to use when maintaining and keeping up with the garden year-round.
Sydney King is a recent SCSU graduate with a degree in Anthropology and Spanish. Since graduating, she became the OOS’s first AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). Here job focuses on improving and expanding campus and community resources involving food security. She enjoys being active (hiking, lifting, swimming), reading, and napping.
Rebecca Barnikow is a junior in the collaborative program for Elementary Education and Special Education. In the Office of Sustainability, Rebecca focuses on food recovery, swap shop, and assisting wherever else is needed. Outside of Southern, she works in both schools and small businesses along the Connecticut shoreline.
Marilyn Childs is a junior majoring in Studio Art, and she enjoys creating art on campus during her free time. In the Office of Sustainability, she helps with food recovery and the garden. Marilyn finds completing tasks for the office incredibly rewarding– whether it be helping others or working together to finish a project.
As Southern's first sustainability fellow, Derek Faulkner is Project and Outreach Manager at Southern’s Office of Sustainability for spring and summer, 2021. Derek is a senior Environmental Systems and Sustainability major and will graduate in May. Having interned in the sustainability office for two years, Derek's primary fellowship responsibilities include leading daily operations for food recovery, planning and leading the Campus Community Garden growing season, monitoring Southern's solar arrays, and expanding community engagement and outreach. Derek has extensive experience with community sustainability in New Haven, working and volunteering with organizations like CitySeed, Gather New Haven, and Common Ground School. Made possible by a gift from The Antonacci Family Foundation, Southern's sustainability fellowship provides students with opportunity and experience leading projects that blend environmental, community and economic benefit.
A sophomore majoring in Communications and minoring in Political Science, Alyssa Couture is focusing on increasing the Office of Sustainability’s online presence and social media reach. Through a Greater New Haven Green Fund grant, Alyssa is helping establish a pollinator pathway at Southern’s Campus Community Garden. She is planning community engagement and will produce a video about the pollinator pathway to boost campus awareness of critical roles of pollinators in ecosystem health and safeguarding food supplies.
Sydney King is a junior majoring in Cultural Anthropology and minoring in Spanish. She aims to pursue a career in social and environmental justice. For spring and summer 2021, Sydney is completing an academic sustainability internship for credit. Her primary responsibilities in the Office of Sustainability are implementing a social media campaign, the pollinator pathway project at the campus community garden, and expanding community partnerships. In addition to her sustainability internship, Sydney works with the non-profit Shepherd’s Mentors, an organization that provides mentorship and educational opportunity in CT’s inner cities.