Student using tools gained in the classroom to create sustainable future at home

April 22, 2021

Jessica Serna smiles in a grassy field

As an independent major, Jessica Serna ’22 had the freedom to study anything she wanted when she arrived at Quinnipiac. Sustainability studies helped her focus on the one thing we all share a responsibility to protect — the environment.

“I believe that environmental issues are the most important in the world right now,” Serna said. “Without a healthy and safe place to live for everyone, we have nothing.”

Her first course, Introduction to Environmental Studies, showed Serna how conserving electricity and water at home can make a big difference. Likewise, her anthropology and Spanish minors have given her additional insight into how various cultures have left their footprint on the environment, for better and for worse, throughout history.

“I believe we can use information about the past to help our future,” she said.

Serna, who grew up around large dairy farms in East Canaan, Connecticut, is particularly interested in sustainable solutions in agriculture. She said no-till farming, using biodegradable seed starters and raising pasture-based livestock can significantly reduce carbon emissions while conserving land and water.

“I think it is important to focus on alternative methods that are already available to us, on both small and large scales,” Serna said.

As a member of the Future Farmers of America, a youth organization that develops leaders in the field of agriculture, Serna hopes to one day work with farms on sustainability initiatives that will enable them to stay in business while respecting their neighbors and the environment.

“The first step isn’t to drastically change your operation,” she said. “We are all responsible and capable of making easy changes, one at a time.”

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