Garrett Blad, University of Notre Dame
Garrett Blad serves as an exemplary student who brings rigor, passion, creativity and respect to his studies and engagement, aligning them both to promote the common good. His own learning in the area of environmental policy combined with his ability to teach and lead fellow students have advanced the conversations about environmental responsibility in important ways for our campus.
-Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President
My mother inspired me to get involved in my community when we would work at the food pantry in my small rural town. Now, I have transferred that commitment to my passion – climate justice. Summer after sophomore year at Notre Dame, I had the privilege of riding more than 1,500 miles exclusively by bicycle with a team organizing communities in Maine to fight against a tar sands pipeline. Afterwards, I started a campaign at Notre Dame calling on the university to take more aggressive action on climate change by developing a plan for carbon neutrality and divesting from fossil fuel corporations. This summer, I helped to organize and give agency to low-income black communities in St. Louis while also fighting against fossil fuel subsidies in the city. And finally, this past fall I led a group of Notre Dame students on an immersion trip to Washington D.C. for a seminar focusing on energy, climate and social change. I think it is essential to build leaders who can then go on to fight their own battles and run their own campaigns. I can’t stop global warming, but together we have a chance.