Hannah Bacon, a third-year student at Elmhurst University, is a young leader who is passionate about environmental advocacy. She has utilized her positions in Student Government Association and Residence Life to endorse more sustainable initiatives on campus, for example, organizing campus-wide plastic reduction. This same passion for environmental action inspired Hannah to restart the college’s forgotten sustainability club, Greenjays. Not only is Hannah motivating the campus body to be more environmentally conscious, she is also connecting the campus to the surrounding community through her work with the Service Learning Program's Civic Engagement Initiative. Further integrating environmental advocacy with political engagement, Hannah volunteers with the Sierra Club and continues to participate in a variety of academic, research opportunities. Hannah plans to pursue a Master's Degree in public policy after graduation.
My passion for environmental advocacy began in a high school AP Environmental Science course and flourished in my first year of undergrad. The interdisciplinary field of Environmental Studies connected the science of climate change to our nation's social and political inequalities; three areas which have always held space in my mind and heart. This new knowledge of structural injustice expanded my horizons, while the power of intersectionality motivated me to enact change. Volunteering with the Sierra Club strengthened my passion as I was able to work with Illinois legislation and promote renewable energy. Racial and economic justice were always at the foundation of our policy proposals. This experience showed me how much power grassroots organizing has and propelled me to advocate for more sustainable options in my own community, at Elmhurst University. Through the help of different campus departments and students, I helped promote less plastic consumption in the cafeteria, increased recycling visibility in the residence halls, and created a Senator of Sustainability through the Student Government Association. I am also researching the connection between COVID-19 cases and exposure to Particulate Matter in both Chicago and Milwaukee with hopes to identify injustice and future policy solutions.