Megan Gutierrez is graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Environmental Studies and PPEL, or Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law. Megan is the recipient of the fall 2021 SBS Excellence in Leadership and Community Engagement Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills through their involvement on and off campus and their impact on the lives of others.
“Megan is an excellent student with a strong interest in sustainability, which is evident in the breadth of her campus and community service,” said Dereka Rushbrook, associate professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment. “Since her arrival on campus, Megan has been an active participant and leader in a cross-section of sustainability efforts which have strengthened campus-community relations while making both campus and the community a better place to be. “
Megan was a participant in the first cohort of undergraduate students in the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), which fosters collaborations between universities and their communities to find local climate solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build community resilience. Megan conducted research, analyzed data, and wrote a report to help kick-start a “Sonoran Sustainability Hub.”
As a project assistant with the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, she created and organized a wide range of events, including a “Revive for the Drive” reusable bag campaign, which donated 70+ reusable bags to students who rely on the Campus Pantry. She then wrote an ASUA student government resolution mandating reusable bags be given to the Campus Pantry to continue the program.
Megan was a compost specialist with the Office of Sustainability. In her time with Compost Cats, she worked closely with the UArizona Community Garden, maintaining garden plots, facilitating the Office of Sustainability's Bucket Program (free composting service for UArizona students and community members), and talking to community members about how to compost locally.
Off campus, Megan is a regular participant in volunteer events, such as trash clean-ups in Tucson's Sugar Hill neighborhood and work days at the San Xavier Co-Op Farm to clean up waste in their fields.
“I am so honored to have been chosen for this award,” Megan said. “Being a student within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has taught me so much about what I love to learn and what I love to do. Community outreach has played a major role in my time on campus, and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to reach so many different audiences and groups. My time learning on campus and volunteering around Tucson neighborhoods has heightened my passion for outreach, and I hope to continue many similar efforts throughout life after graduation.”