Kendi Aaron

What is your major? Conservation biology

Expected graduation: May 2023

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? Freshman year I took Environmental Studies 112: the Social Perspective because I had to fill a general ed requirement. When I was taking that class I would talk to my family and friends non-stop about what I was learning. I learned about communities fighting for the basic rights to clean water and food sovereignty. I learned how race of a community is the best indicator to determine where pollutants are dumped. I heard and read so many stories about people fighting for things they should not have to fight for.

That class set me on a completely different track than what I came into college with. I now want my life to be dedicated to helping my community and other marginalized communities to fight for their environmental rights. Since that first class, I have taken many more that have continued to open my world view to the fight and struggle of people around the world trying to protect their environment.

What would you say (or do you say) to other students about CESP and the Nelson Institute? When it comes to CESP, I am surrounded by people studying various disciplines alongside their environmental studies component. I have been exposed to people who are trying to bring sustainability and environmental justice to fields of work that have historically ignored these concerns. It is inspiring to see others willing to put in the work. I am excited to utilize the lessons from the classroom in real life.

Something few people know about you: Few people know that I used to want to be an astronaut when I was younger. I now just enjoy the idea of traveling through space via my sci-fi book collection.