Member Highlight: Alex Urasaki

This week we’re highlighting another member of our project leader board, Alex Urasaki. Alex is currently our VP of Events and works endlessly to plan our fundraisers and feeds. This quarter alone, he worked to coordinate our Pagliacci Pizza Feed as well as our Chipotle Fundraiser. He is currently a Junior here at the University of Washington, majoring in Environmental Sciences and Resource Management, making him a very valuable asset to our leadership team. Alex is also a Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for EcoReps, another organization on campus. Some other events Alex has made a huge impact on are the UW Sustainability Earth Day event and our upcoming Green Greek Competition (stay tuned for more info in the future!)

In addition to being a valuable asset to our organization, he contributes to the Greek community through his Chapter as well. He is a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity, Gamma Chi chapter. He currently holds the position of House and Sustainability Chairman and is the former Vice President and Philanthropy Chairman. Sigma Nu prides themselves on their principles of love, honor, and truth, which Alex works to incorporate in his life.

In his free time, Alex spends a lot of time outside, as any Green Greek should! Alex also is very engaged in the music world, being a self-proclaimed “avid concert-goer and music fan,” and is highly active on his Soundcloud, sharing music with other music lovers. He really enjoys being involved in the Green Greek organization because “it’s the most passionate group I’ve worked with so far and the events are a really exciting way to see sustainability in action.” In the future, Alex is really looking forward to spreading the word about the program even further, the April Pizza feed was just the beginning!

Look out for more of his fantastic event planning in the future and on facebook, Great work Alex!

Speaker Highlight: Kristi Straus

Did you know that the way we live our lives now is threatening our life support system here on Earth? How about the fact that 1/3 of the waste on the University of Washington’s campus is food waste? As of 2012, we are using 156% of the biodiversity on our planet, according to speaker Kristi Straus. We were lucky enough to have Dr. Kristi Straus come and talk to us this last Tuesday, May 9th, about her passion for sustainability sustainable habits.

Sustainability is a very broad term that essentially means to meet your present needs without it affecting the ability of future generations to meet their needs or run out of resources. The premise behind sustainable eating is finding “What needs to change so we can live sustainably… it also includes economic and social components…socially just and economically manageable for those who live in those systems,” according to Dr. Straus. Everyone consumes food, but few people know how to do so in a sustainable manner. Sustainable food habits include food that is ecologically responsible, fair and accessible, produces no waste, is healthy, and is local.  While the idea of “Local” is up to your discretion, the concept your “food-print” comes into play when you think about the distance food travels to get to your plate. Your food-print tells you the environmental impact of your food consumption, which is most commonly measured in the miles it takes for food to travel from the point of production to the point of consumption. Currently, the average distance food travels to get to us is around 1,500 miles; just think of the carbon dioxide implications involved in that much travel!

The most important thing you can do to reduce your food-print is to eat locally – within reason. Eating local doesn’t just reduce the food-print, but it also provides fresher food and benefits the immediate economy of your community. Buying local could mean participating in a community sponsored agriculture program or buying at a farmer’s market. To get the most out of this, look for organic certified products: they’re not only better for the environment, but they’re better for you too!

Kristi Straus grew up in California and went to school in Maine as a Biology Major. She then took time off to travel and went to Morocco to participate for the Peace Corps for two years, where she worked with health and clean water and witnessed how sustainable living works in other countries. Dr. Straus said that it “made her think about resources and happiness in a new way.” She now has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and focuses on how conservation, science, and policy all play into one another.

(For UW Students) To find out more about the fight for sustainability and our planet, Dr. Straus recommends taking ENVIR 239, ENVIR 439, ENVIR 240, or ENVIR 495. Or visit one of these sites:

 

Member Highlight: Talia Haller

This week, we’re highlighting on our fearless leader, so everyone gets the chance to learn a little more about our team. Thanks to her efforts, Greek Greeks has faced much success over the last few years with countless fundraisers and events all working to reduce the footprint of the UW Greek system on the planet we’re so lucky to call home. Not to mention, we were nominated for the Husky Green Award this year, and even though we did not win, it was still an honor to even be nominated.

Tali is a student of the Foster’s School of Business at the University of Washington, hoping18275270_1528386973851827_5531072327266539316_n to pursue a double-major in Business Administration and International Studies with a focus on energy and the environment. She is also a member of the Mu chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority here on campus, founded in 1910. Sigma Kappa partners with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to the work she does with Green Greeks and around the community. She devotes herself to her chapter and her community and Tali’s work on our small campus is just a warm-up for her international environmental conservation goals. As our director, Talia not only leads our bi-weekly meetings, but arranges for speakers from all over the conservation and business worlds. She motivates her members to not only stay on top of their projects, but provides the tools we need to succeed.

When she isn’t busy saving the planet, Talia enjoys any chance she can get to go explore the beautiful world around us. She spends her free time doing yoga, hiking and sailing, amongst other adventures. Just this past weekend, Tali had the opportunity to skydive for the first time!

Thanks Talia for all that you do, keep on adventuring!

Speaker Highlight: Jaffer Ali

Following a busy week filled with Earth Day activities, we were fortunate enough to welcome Jaffer Ali, CEO of Nue Power, to our meeting this week. He shared his insights with us, covering everything from his childhood to his entrance into the business world. He shared with us some tips regarding how to make good first impressions with companies and how to succeed at entrepreneurship by incorporating sustainability efforts in the field of business just like he did.

Born in Saudi Arabia, and then later living in Pakistan, Ali came to the United States at the age of 4. He knew no English and was fully immersed in the American culture with no warning. A few years later he learned about the stock market by asking his father about it. He eventually learned how you can own tiny pieces of large businesses and instantly he was hooked. He was particularly interested in investing in Coca-Cola.  

Fast forward to 2017 and Jaffer Ali has not only created his own business but successfully created a network and filled such a unique niche. With Ali’s company, Nue Power, his main vision is to implement solar energy solutions within communities, especially within homes in the Pacific Northwest. He believes that in a few years solar panels will take over because of its efficiency. Solar power will soon become cheaper and more accessible than any other source of energy.

We learned that compared to other branches of business, entrepreneurship is much riskier and more competitive than other positions in business. Without a doubt, entrepreneurship has many benefits but also requires large risks, which is evident in what Ali did. Technology is advancing is such a quick rate that people are constantly trying to reinvent every process or item in hopes to save time, save money, reduce risk, and even increase status. Although this is true about technology, sustainability is another component that is becoming crucial in the field of business. Sustainable practices eventually lead to reliable products and a better corporate culture. Ali reminds us all about the importance of combining good business practices and sustainability in hope to create an eco-friendly future for all.

 

If you want to learn more about Jaffer Ali and Nue Power Solar, visit https://nuepowersolar.com/