Written by Jessie Li
Rachel Stewart is a first-year student in the Haslam Scholars Program double majoring in global studies and political science and minoring in sustainability. As a passionate advocate for environmental justice and sustainability, Rachel plans to serve in the Peace Corps and attend law school with a focus on environmental and international law. She can see herself working in either the public or private sector, as a foreign service agent for the State Department or for a nonprofit organization.
Rachel is already working to achieve her goals through an internship with the University of Tennessee’s Office of Sustainability which allows her to design her own sustainability initiative. Rachel decided to focus her internship on increasing access to composting on campus. She has implemented a pilot compost program, called Compost Cubbies, in Brown Residence Hall. Compost Cubbies gives Brown Hall residents the opportunity to keep a compost container in their rooms in addition to recycling and trash. “The idea is to increase composting’s convenience and access for individuals,” Rachel explained. Ultimately, Rachel believes that a compost bin should be wherever recycling bins are, and she hopes to expand Compost Cubbies across campus in the future.
Being a Haslam Scholar has helped Rachel in a variety of ways. “At Haslam Finalist Weekend, I first realized how I could combine my passion for environmentalism and sustainability with global studies and law,” Rachel said, referring to the weekend where Haslam Scholars are selected. Rachel enjoys the atmosphere of being in a cohort and program of people who are curious, motivated, and encouraging. “You do a lot more because you know that you are capable of a lot more. The Haslam Scholars Program’s supportive framework has helped me actualize my goals and potential.”