Student wins scholarship for sustainability efforts

Publication Date
Bethany Costello

Bethany Costello ’22 is doing all she can to make Union – and the Capital Region – a lot greener. She’s co-chair of U-Sustain, incoming vice president of sustainability for Student Forum (2021-22), and a member of the Sustainability Committee.

She’s also the winner of a $25,000 Green Fee, which she’s using to revive Union’s Drink Local Program. Through it, eight new water bottle-filling stations will be installed across campus to help reduce single-use plastic bottle consumption.

So it’s no surprise that she’s a 2021 Udall Scholar.

The 55 winners of this year’s scholarship – selected from a pool of 416 applicants – were chosen based on their commitment to careers in the environment, Tribal public policy, or Native health care. Also considered were their leadership potential, record of public service and academic achievement.

Each scholarship provides $7,000 for the winner’s junior or senior year of academic study.

“When I first learned about the Udall Scholarship at the beginning of my sophomore year, I knew it was a standard I aspired to, but also knew I hadn’t done enough impactful work for it to be worth applying for yet,” said Costello, who is from Londonderry, N.H. “To have applied and actually won this year feels really incredible. It’s an amazing recognition of all of the work I’ve done and also how much I’ve grown as an environmentalist and an activist. I am absolutely honored to be among the winners.”

Some of that work includes being co-founder of the virtual Student Efforts to Advance Sustainability NY Conference. It welcomed more than 125 attendees from 40-plus schools in April of this year.

A mechanical engineering major with an energy studies minor and a Seward Organizing Theme minor in urban climate change mitigation, Costello was also a community solar advocate for Common Energy last summer. Currently, she is a clean energy intern for the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.

To learn more about the Udall Scholarship, click here. Meet the scholars themselves here.