Megan Spielbauer

What are your majors? Economics and environmental studies, certificates in public policy and Chican@ and Latin@ studies

Expected graduation: December 2021

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? Freshman year, I enrolled in an environmental studies class and learned about the popularization of monoculture grass lawns and their environmental costs. Growing up in a Minnesota suburb, I grew up playing on my lawn and making some money mowing it once I was older. That class made me realize that American society essentially convinced itself that grass lawns were a necessity despite their ecologically damaging qualities, which pushed me to look deeper into my understanding of human-nature relations and enroll in more environmental studies courses.

Both my economics and environmental studies classes show me how American economic development continues to rely on the exploitation of the environment and human labor force globally. Therefore, environmental justice is the only form of environmentalism that I consider to be meaningful as it combines environment and community, centers marginalized voices, and emphasizes accountability.

What would you say (or do you say) to other students about CESP and the Nelson Institute? I would tell other students that the Nelson Institute has some great professors and classes that will expand your understanding of what constitutes the “environment.”

Something few people know about you: I’m a pro on Wii Sports Boxing.

Something else about you? I really enjoy reading outside, so I am excited for the spring when I will be able to read sections of our assigned book and do other assignments on my porch.