Every semester, Embark takes time to acknowledge and celebrate our superstar volunteers. While we host semesterly volunteer socials, we have also created the Volunteer of the Semester award to recognize one or two volunteers that have gone above and beyond the scope of their role. This semester, we’ve given the award to Mariah Mund. Here is a quick interview about her experience as an Embark volunteer.
Resource and Environmental Management with a Minor in Psychology.
I began volunteering at Embark in September 2018. I volunteered as a Sustainability Peer Educator and a member of the Climate Action Team. With the Peer Educators I organized a Zero Waste Festival at SFU. The festival incorporated zero-waste businesses, non-profits, and interactive zero-waste workshops. Our goal was to educate, connect, and motivate SFU and community members to become more involved in the zero-waste movement. With the climate action team, I tabled weekly to inform students on the relationship between food and climate change. I helped develop a proposal to increase plant-based options at dining facilities on campus to ensure that the food served at SFU is good for the climate and I helped organize an event. This event brought students together with professional working on the connections between climate change and oceans. We had speakers discussing sea level rise, the impact of the oil industry and sea life, and actions that community members can take to prevent ocean degradation and climate change.
I had figured out that I loved the environment, but I had not yet figured out what part of the environment I loved the most. When I began volunteering I wanted to better understand the environment, so I could determine what part of it I wanted to help protect for the rest of my life. On top of that, I wanted to meet more people like me. I love sharing my passion for the environment with others, especially when those others love the environment as much as I do.
When volunteering with Embark you get the support from Embark staff to pursue what matters to you. My teams were able to prioritize our passion while receiving support, advice, and guidance from Embark. Having a team that supports you makes you feel like anything is possible. Further, I was able to see how dedication from a few individuals can result in massive movements on campus. Seeing this made me realize that I can make change and to keep pushing for change even when it seems like all hope is lost.
The people. Everyone at Embark is so inviting and friendly. I felt that I could be myself without judgement. I made friends at Embark that I hope to keep for life.
That dedicated people can make change. that it is easier to make change when you are passionate about the project you are implementing. that finding other people who share your interests and passions is motivating, inspiring, and keeps you going when times get tough. That there is no such thing as failure — every failure is just an opportunity to learn and grow.