Savannah Lipinski

What are your majors? Geology and geophysics, Jewish studies

Expected graduation: May 2023

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? The first time I remember hearing the phrase “climate change” was in 2005 as I sat on the floor in my grandmother’s basement watching my former home and birthplace, New Orleans, Louisiana, be demolished by hurricane Katrina. I watched as my mother wept and knew, even at just 8 years old, that this would be the issue of my lifetime. Even at a young age, I knew that it would take community support and engagement in order to save the world from the devastating effects of climate change.

Growing up, I was always fascinated with the science of the natural world, choosing to spend my time outdoors collecting bugs or simply observing the processes occurring around me. I knew, even as a child, that I wanted to make a career out of studying and advocating for the beautiful planet that we live on. By the time of my Bat Mitzvah, at 13 years old, I knew that the earth not only needed advocating for, but that it was a Jewish value to do so. At that point, there weren’t many Jewish organizations whose specific focus was fighting for environmental justice. I knew that I wanted that to be my career.

As a teenager and young adult, I became very active in environmental organizing and education, and in particular, I fell in love with being an environmental educator when I took on the role of teva (Hebrew for nature) specialist at the summer camp I work at. I love working within and throughout the community to share my love of the environment and inspire action within my community through education and empowerment. I hope that through this experience, I can refine my skills as an environmental leader and learn how to engage broad and diverse communities.