A green Panther

From studying abroad in the National Student Exchange program and working closely with the UNI Green Project to spending a year working for UNI Outdoors as nature tour guide, Lily Conrad, a junior environmental science major, has been all across UNI -- and the country. With her multiple sustainability efforts here on campus, Conrad serves as an inspiration for everyone who wishes to nurture the Earth, preserve the environment, and become conscious consumers on a larger scale.

Lily Conrad

With her multiple sustainability efforts here on campus, Conrad serves as an inspiration for everyone who wishes to nurture the Earth, preserve the environment, and become conscious consumers on a larger scale.

Her green journey at UNI started when she was a freshman. She immediately started working for UNI Sustainability as a gardener at the Panther Plot. She helped with harvesting ripe fruits and vegetables, watering, weeding and weighing produce and then delivering the produce to the UNI dining centers. She served as the president of the Green Project, an interdisciplinary student organization that promotes campus sustainability, encourages local food consumption and the creation and maintenance of the Panther Plot.

"The focus of this group is to develop and apply valuable skills pertaining to gardening, leadership and food systems, while simultaneously providing the university community with fresh, locally grown produce and green initiatives," said Conrad. "At the end of each summer, we will use a portion of the produce we generate to give back to UNI and the surrounding areas. This provides members with an experience that is both educational and enriching, as we are able to diversify the UNI learning experience and foster relationships in our community."

Her hard work did not stop there. Conrad also worked for the UNI Outdoor program as a freshman, mostly working at the climbing wall, but also had the opportunity to assist on backpacking and climbing trips. Towards the end of that year, she was able to help lead a women's climbing trip in Arkansas.

"It was amazing," said Conrad. "It is always wonderful seeing females progressing in such a male-dominated activity -- the support is unlike anything else. I wanted to become involved with UNI Outdoors because I value nature. By being able to run trips and work at the climbing wall, I was able to promote the preservation and restoration of natural areas by just taking participants outside, and witnessing their love for nature take root."

Her sophomore year was spent studying at Southern Oregon University through the National Student Exchange program, which allows students to attend a different university in the United States while still paying UNI tuition.

"I am very happy with the experience the program allowed me to gain," said Conrad. "I have wanted to live in southern Oregon for about four years now, so I find it so amazing that I am finally living in that area and able to experience everything at last (mostly outdoor pursuits). I am filled with happiness and gratitude."

Conrad plans on studying either surface water or frozen hydrology in her graduate degree program after earning her bachelor’s degree in environmental science. She would also love to work to improve water access and quality in various locations abroad.

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