Q&A with Jenna Gilbreath, Sophomore; Major: Communication Studies ; Minors: Nonprofit Studies, Media Advocacy and Event Planning; Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
Office of Sustainability Newsletter March 2021
Thirst Project Club President
Let’s Grow Together Coalition Intern
Community Engaged Learning Community Partner Advocate
Resident Assistant in Lake/Olson as the Social Justice Advocate
Intern for Thirst Project as a Trailblazer Ambassador
Vice President of American Red Cross Club
President of the Skydiving Club
member of the Allocation Committee of USG
What area(s) of sustainability are you most interested in?
There are so many different aspects to sustainability and it is hard to focus just on a few. Each few months I try to make a conscious effort to focus on one area. In the past, this has included becoming a vegetarian, reducing my plastic waste, and supporting ethical brands. Right now, I am looking at changing my banking to support ethical banking. I want to ensure my money is going towards the planet over profit and supporting fossil fuels.
What made you interested in pursuing this area?
I am not going to lie, it took me a long time to consider myself a sustainable person or an environmentalist. I feel like oftentimes there is anxiety around this term because of the fear of not being the “perfect” environmentalist. However, I believe there is no such thing as the “perfect” environmentalist. There are always going to be people telling you that you aren’t doing enough. I realized I shouldn’t let this fear hold me back from trying at all. It is all about progress not perfection. I love the opportunity to make the world a better place one simple choice at a time. Not only for future generations but for us, today.
How do your studies or classes at Kent State support you in your sustainability endeavors?
It is really more so my personal interests that drive my sustainability efforts and I try to bring them into any space I spend my time in. This includes my time on campus :)
What is your favorite part of your position, research, studies, or time at Kent State?
I have really loved the opportunity to work with the Let’s Grow Together Coilition. It has given me the opportunity to apply my nonprofit knowledge to an organization and learn more about gardening.
What type of work or projects are you working on this year?
Through Let’s Grow Together, I have been working on a few projects with some amazing people. These include: our herb garden fundraiser, small grant applications, the reduce waste program, garden maintenance, and curriculum development.
What are your favorite accomplishments or projects you have worked on so far?
All of these are still a work in progress but it is exciting to see us get closer each day to implementing these projects. Additionally, it has been exciting to see how much my own gardening knowledge has expanded.
What was the Women’s Center (R)Evolution class?
The Women’s Center (R)Evolution class was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women on our campus while learning about valuable things in life. Some of these topics included negotiation of salaries, finances, implicit biases, etc.
What is Let's Grow Together Coalition?
LGTC works to produce healthier communities by uniting educators, civic leaders, and members of their communities to educate, motivate, and engage children in activities that promote healthier living and greater sustainability. Our organization unites collaborators via our community garden, Garden Club, and Reduce Waste programs. Our objectives include designing and implementing programs at local elementary schools for children, providing hands-on learning experiences on creating and maintaining gardens, recycling, eating healthier, and reducing waste in their daily lives. In order to support these activities, LGTC also will raise funds, recruit volunteers, and contact schools and other groups in communities around Ohio to collaborate in these efforts.
What is Thirst Project Club?
Thirst Project Club is a branch from the nonprofit organization, whose aim is to end the global water crisis by building freshwater wells in developing communities that lack access to clean, safe drinking water. They do so through activation of students. Our club raises awareness and money for this issue on our campus.
Can you tell us more about Walk for Water?
Thirst Project Club at Kent State University is a branch of the worlds largest youth water organization. This means we work with young people all around the world to bring safe, clean drinking water to developing communities that lack access to it. Right now, on our planet, 600 million people lack access to clean, safe drinking water! It is hard to imagine 600 million of anything, let alone 600 million people. Our club's mission is to fundraise and raise awareness for this issue on our campus and community. We chose to do an event to walk 3.75 miles and call it a “Walk for Water”. This is because, 3.75 miles is the average distance someone in a developing community walks to collect contaminated water. This task tends to fall on women and children. As a result, women cannot get jobs to contribute to households. Children cannot get an education due to the thousands of hours they spend annually collecting water. As you can see, there are so many things connected to water. Like job security, education, health, food security, and the list could go on. This is why as a club we believe the global water crisis is one of the greatest global humanitarian issues we face on our planet. As a result, we chose to plan this walk to raise awareness to the fact that every single day millions of people are walking on average 3.75 miles to collect water that is unsafe for them. We know clean water is a human right, are you going to join the fight? Sign up for the walk today! You can participate anytime from April 22-25th and the 22nd is Earth Day! If you do participate, use the hashtag #WalkforWaterKSU!
How can people learn more or get involved in Walk for Water?
People can check out our Instagram @tpc_ksu or go to https://my.thirstproject.org/event/kent-state-university-walk-for-water/e329214
Why did you think it was important to create Thirst Project Club student organization at Kent State?
Having access to clean, safe drinking water is something we take for granted often in the U.S., and very little do we think about those around the world who do not have this human right. I personally believe the global water crisis is one of the greatest global humanitarian issues we face on our planet. This is because so many things are linked to water like health, sanitation/hygiene, food security, job security, education, etc. Because of these things, I felt that it was important to raise awareness on our campus and in our community around this issue. I truly believe we will be the generation to push the water crisis into the history books.
What career or path do you see yourself pursuing after graduation?
Currently the plan is to go into the Peace Corps following undergrad. After that experience, I plan on going into grad school for Higher Education with the hopes of working for a department similar to Community Engaged Learning here at Kent State.
Thank you Jenna!