Updated: Mar 18, 2020
For week two of our #ARClimateAccord3 promotions, we spoke with college student and League scholarship recipient Jennifer Taylor about her interest in our environment and also asked the question, “Why should you support the Arkansas Citizens’ Climate League?”:
Jennifer Taylor is a 2019 Arkansas State University graduate with a B.S. in Dietetics. She has been able to attend Citizens' Climate Education Conferences through the League’s conference travel and lodging scholarship program.
Currently, Jennifer is finishing an additional year of ASU studies preparing for post graduate work in Recreational Ecology. She’s in conversation with Utah State University and Penn State. Outside of academics, she spends her time volunteering and working on the campus and within the community.
Jennifer, a native of Cabot, grew up hiking through Arkansas’ southern forests.
“I spent all my time outside and from an early age was a naturalist at heart. Of course at that time, I didn’t understand environmental action and the challenges we are facing with climate and biodiversity,” she said.
Her love for nature has not changed and her understanding has only grown.
Jennifer has stated that one of the best decisions she made during her undergraduate career was applying for and accepting a work study job doing curations in the ASU biology department.
“I responded to an ad asking for people interested in ‘preserving natural history.’ My job is taking care of specimens to preserve and use them for education and research purposes,” Jennifer said. “This has exposed me to other professionals and students in the biology department and their interest in conservation and sustainability in their research.”
Jennifer and Sara Saucedo, another League scholarship recipient, co-founded the ASU Environmental Club. The on-campus student organization has achieved slow but steady success, Jennifer said.
“I am proud that the Environmental Club has been able to bring recycling bins in all the residence halls, organize a clothing swap – students loved that – host a Climate Strike, and have regular campus clean-ups. These things would not be possible without members of the organization providing their time in effort into making things happen,” Jennifer said. “We have a lot of freshman interest; if we continue to have that stream of people, I’m confident that we will be able to continue the work that we do within this club.”
Jennifer attended the Citizens’ Climate Education Conference in Washington D.C. in 2018 and the CCE Regional Conference in 2019 through the League’s travel and lodging scholarship program. The conferences served to further her understanding of policy and her knowledge and skills set on how to promote change on a greater scale.
“It is known that if you want to make a large, reaching impact, you need to have change on a policy level, especially in terms of climate action,” she said. “It’s one thing to just know that something is important. Being able to understand all the different factors and the actual amount of work that has to go into making those changes, highlights the importance and creates a deeper sense of awareness and responsibility. With CCE, I was able to have that experience.”
Policy is one of the topics that the student members of ASU Environmental Club will be addressing as they prepare for a month of campus-wide educational activities in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Anyone interested in learning more about the club can check out their Instagram @astate_environmental_club.
“Our goal is to expose the student population to something that isn’t talked about too much in Jonesboro: current environmental issues,” Jennifer said. “What we are doing in April with various films and guest speakers has not been done here before. We’ll be incorporating policy, sustainability, clean energy, economics, etc.”
Jennifer said she sees the natural fit between League donors and students like herself.
“It’s overwhelming to be a young person - a student - and to understand global climate change. It pulls at the heart,” she said. “We all have our own lives and resources. When you are willing to give your resources to someone else so that they can use it to do even more, it means a lot. What I’ve learned through the support of the League will stay with me as I continue trying to make progress throughout my communities.”