Green fee to boost sustainability at Kenney Community Center

Publication Date

A proposal by Jacqueline Sharry ’18, a biology major from Worcester, Mass. was recently awarded Union’s $25,000 green fee, available to students for an impactful project that benefits campus sustainability.

Her proposal was to make the Kenney Center more sustainable through the implementation of solar panels, lighting upgrades, an upgraded thermostat, composting, and a plan to use this to educate their STEP students about sustainability.

Learn more about Sharry and her project here:

What are you involved in on campus (more specifically, in terms of environmental science, etc.)?

I’m the co-chair of U-Sustain. I also do research in Professor Corbin’s lab in plant ecology. I also am a STEP mentor with the Kenney Center and work there during the school year as well with the Homework help after school program and other programs.

What inspired you to apply for the Green Fee Project and how has it shaped your experience at Union?

I recognized the importance of not only reducing Union’s carbon footprint, but also teaching younger people about the importance of sustainability. I taught environmental engineering to middle schoolers as a teaching fellow two summers ago and was a STEP mentor last summer, and they were very enthusiastic to learn about the planet. I personally didn’t realize how important it was until I got to college and wish I was more educated at a younger age. Not only do solar panels and other sustainable renovations at the Kenney Center make it and Union more environmentally friendly, but it also provides an opportunity to teach elementary, middle, and high schoolers how important living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle and combating climate change is. After working at the Kenney Center for three years, I along with the staff noticed some ways in which the center is not efficient such as with having fluorescent light bulbs and I wished to fix that.

What are your plans for when you graduate?

I’m interested in education and the environment and hope to do something in either field.