Melissa Orzechowski, Northern Michigan University

Melissa OrzechowskiMelissa Orzechowski is a third-year student actively working with the community on behalf of the environment. During her time as a student, she has worked with students and community members of all ages, teaching people about and engaging them in action for the betterment of their surroundings. For local elementary and middle school students from all schools in the area, she coordinated two environmental education events. She invited children and environmental organizations to campus to learn about the world around them, their impacts, and the actions they can take. Melissa also was a leading student in the efforts to bring the campus community and community members from across the Upper Peninsula together to march in September, bringing political and community attention to climate change. Another environmental area Melissa has worked extensively is with local organic food. While volunteering growing food for educational purposes and to be donated through the NMU Hoop House, Melissa realized not enough people knew about this resource. With peers she executed an awareness campaign. Melissa continues to take what she learns in the classroom and put it to good use as she understands the value of working as a community for our community.
-Fritz Erickson, President

The natural world has always been important to me. As I grew, I realized the importance of fostering relationships between communities and their environments. 
I led two environmental education events, connecting local children with local environmental organizations. Each organization led an interactive activity to teach students about their particular environmental focus from watershed health to local food. 
Fellow classmates and I, realizing the importance but impracticality of traveling to New York for the People’s Climate March, planned the People’s Climate March: Marquette. Through this march we joined the global community as a local community of over 75 (on a cold rainy day) to demonstrate to our local and global representatives the gravity of climate change.
I have also been civically engaged for the environmental by working with local organic food. Volunteering at the NMU Hoop House for 3 years, I realized how underused this resource, teaching about local food while growing food to be donated to the women’s shelter, was. I, with three fellows, led an awareness campaign that drew people who had previously never been there. 
Currently I am continuing these efforts by leading a team to plan a No Impact Week for the Marquette community to reduce over-consumption.
-Melissa Orzechowski