Connor Eck is an exceptional student engaged in sustainability advocacy and education. He is an excellent candidate for the Newman Civic Fellowship.
Connor is passionate about making a difference by using his educational experience to educate others. He has been a leader in the Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities Wine Science Program where he applies his passion for environmental sustainability. He has taken the lead role of WSU Tri-Cities' Blended Learning Winemaking in which he has created a mission "to improve product quality while reducing environmental impact through education and cooperation." This leadership responsibility calls on him to travel to local wineries to promote the necessity for continued research and hands-on learning experiences for the growing industry.
Connor continues to leverage his relationships within the industry and community, which has created a platform to promote sustainable winemaking practices by reducing the production's environmental impacts. Connor's enthusiasm inside-of-the classroom continually translates to outside-of-the classroom impactful changes for environmentally sustainable growing practices in our region.
I first began working with winemakers in the communities surrounding Washington State University Tri-Cities when I enrolled as a Viticulture and Enology student during the Fall semester of 2016. My goal at the onset was to improve quality, sustainability, and reduce the environmental impact of the wine industry through education and research. On campus, I took the role as the student winemaker under the Washington State University Blended Learning label during my first semester as a cougar, where I get to work with various winemakers and grape growers in the region on sustainable and environmentally friendly winemaking practices. I aim to find a way to limit the amount of water used in the farming of grapes and during the winemaking processes, while still producing a high-quality product, in efforts to be able to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture and conserve water for use during periods of drought. I am also involved in working with winemakers, grape growers, and donors to ask for donations to support this research and to ensure that future student research can continue at Washington State University.