Image of Olivia Rosser

The School of Social Work graduate has assisted with major waste reduction efforts on campus.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Office of Sustainability would like to recognize Olivia Rosser as a Sustainability Champion!

Rosser graduated this month from the School of Social Work with a master’s in social work with a concentration in behavioral health. During her time at UMB, Rosser also worked with the Office of Sustainability as a Waste Reduction Fellow. Her tasks included assisting with self-service waste rollouts, aiding in the creation of UMB's community compost drop-off sites, increasing learning opportunities about sustainability at UMB, and creating educational content for social media. Rosser’s experiences and education at the School of Social Work and the Office of Sustainability have influenced her plans post-graduation.

“I believe that promoting sustainability and addressing climate change are crucial to achieving equity and justice for marginalized communities who are most impacted by its effects. After graduating, I aim to provide solutions for my clients by providing direct services and being an advocate for radical change on the macro level,” she says.

Rosser has done great work with the Office of Sustainability. One of her favorite initiatives she worked on was creating materials for the Community Composting Drop-Off Pilot Program.

According to Rosser, “There is a learning curve to composting, similar to recycling, that makes people hesitant to participate. Not all facilities accept the same kind of food scraps, people have to carry their scraps around, and some people are not familiar with the concept. I was given a lot of creative freedom to create flyers, handouts, and media that would address all of these concerns. UMB provides this service to both the University and West Baltimore communities, and I'm hopeful the program will continue to grow in the future.”

Rosser also talked about how tabling at events or helping to host community events was a memorable experience. “We have so many students, staff, and faculty who are eager to learn, who are passionate about sustainability, and who are working hard to uphold UMB's core values. The Office of Sustainability is a small but very mighty team doing amazing things!”

Outside of school, Rosser incorporates sustainability into her life by collecting compost, gardening, cooking seasonal meals to better connect with her food, opting for reusable plastic-free swaps, learning to make and repair items, commuting using public transportation (when possible), and enjoying nature whenever she can.

She emphasizes that it has been a long process to change her daily habits, but that it gets easier over time. Rosser loves when friends or family ask questions about sustainable living and she gets to share her knowledge with them. She affirms that “you never know who is watching or who might get inspired by you!”

When asked what students, faculty, and staff at UMB can do to contribute to sustainability efforts, Rosser suggests taking the Sustainability Leadership micro-courses, which she says give an amazing overview of sustainability and ways to make change that will leave you inspired to do more. She also recommends joining the UMBuyNothing Teams group, which is a great resource if you are moving, have a surplus of materials, or want to try saving money.

“Supporting a circular economy amongst the UMB community where we can maximize the life of our materials instead of constantly buying new things is a win for everyone!”

Do you have a UMB Sustainability Champion you would like to nominate to be featured? Please fill out this form. Self-nominations are welcome.

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