Official website for the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability.
Where Are They Now? Hannah Franzblau interviews Jeremy Sanford
In our “Where Are They Now?” series, current student interns interview former interns about their experience at the Office of Sustainability, and in particular how that experience has helped them since graduation. In the following entry, Hannah Franzblau relates her conversation with Jeremy Sanford.
Jeremy Sanford is a former Office of Sustainability (OS) intern and is currently studying at the University at Buffalo through their graduate program for environmental and land use planning. He is part of the Community Resilience Lab, which focuses on developing socially equitable, livable, and healthy urban communities using a multidisciplinary approach. In this position, he reaches out to the community and works with individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds to achieve a common goal. He notes how the OS internship helped him strengthen his ability to work independently, “coalesce shared knowledge to achieve a goal, and understand the intersectionality in sustainability work.”
As an undergraduate at UW–Madison, Jeremy majored in Conservation Biology and was hoping to do research in the field. He joined the Office of Sustainability in the Summer of 2019. After visiting a campus planner during the internship’s summer field trip, however, his attention was redirected to a potential career in urban planning. Those who enter this field develop and design how we use our land. Jeremy is focusing on the environmental side, which involves mitigating negative impact from human activities, restoring the environment, and developing healthy and sustainable communities. In addition, Jeremy’s work on the Social Sustainability Coalition (formerly known as the Green Allies team) showed him how to approach sustainability from the human perspective as well as the conservation perspective, which reinforced his interest in this field.
Some of Jeremy’s favorite memories from his time in the internship was planning the Green Allies Coalition gathering at the Student Activity Center on campus: “I gained valuable knowledge and a deep appreciation for community outreach work,” Jeremy said. On the Green Athletics team, he enjoyed interviewing student athletes who were interested in becoming sustainability liaisons for their sports teams. Jeremy also found the opportunity to work with others who are passionate about sustainability to be rewarding and has fostered lasting connections with students and staff.
When asked what advice he would give to people looking to have a career in sustainability or for those who want to improve their sustainable practices in their profession, Jeremy noted that a good first step is to start at the personal level. Jeremy believes that sustainability can be implemented at any position and even if the prospect can seem discouraging, he urges “you stay positive and look at the positive impact you have.”