As a Posse Scholar learning about Union, Carlos Piedad found himself immediately drawn to the campus beauty and architecture, and the abundant interdisciplinary options, especially those with an environmental focus.
Now he’s enjoying courses that are addressing some of today’s most vital environmental issues from multiple perspectives.
“Overall, the faculty have really helped me develop and grow my passion for environmental studies, beginning with an intro course with Professor Anouk Verheyden-Gillikin my first term,” he says.
Carlos’s summer research and senior thesis with Andrew Morris, associate professor of history, focus on environmental policy history in New York’s six-million acre Adirondack Park.
Carlos is further exploring his interest in that diverse region on an Adirondack mini-term called “A Peopled Wilderness.” It’s led by his academic adviser, economics professor J. Douglass Klein, along with faculty members in an array of fields, including geosciences, literature and sociology. This interdisciplinary approach to studying how the park is managed aligns with Union’s long connection with the Adirondacks.
“These are great opportunities to pursue what I love,” says Carlos. “I’ve always been interested in sustainability, and since coming to college, I’ve become more committed and passionate about it.”
At Union, Carlos lives and breathes his passion. He is a resident of Ozone House, the sustainability theme house, as well as co-chair of the U-Sustain Committee, vice president of sustainability for the Student Forum and a student liaison on the Schenectady County Environmental Advocacy Council. Beyond the campus and local communities, he has studied environmental management on a mini-term program in New Zealand.
“Taking care of the planet seems like the biggest challenge anyone can take on right now,” he says. “If I can devote my life to it, I would feel like I’d done something right.”