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Shannon Haupt

Environmental Studies

Alexandria, Virginia
Anthropology & Sociology
Environmental Studies and Public Policy & Urban Affairs
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Butter Pecan
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
It’s our responsibility to understand how earth works!

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I wanted to better understand humans’ relationship to what we label “the environment”. I am committed to this department because it has provided me with critical thinking tools necessary in combatting climate change and creating a just transition towards a future that equitably sustains all inhabitants of the environment.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
It can be easy to get down about the history (and many current developments) of humans exploiting the environment. Don’t get stuck here! There is a beautiful, powerful, intersectional movement of communities around the world who are advocating for “the environment” through study, activism, and community building.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
My concentration in Environmental Studies supplements my understanding of what is currently happening to “the environment” and strengthens my resolve to fight for environmental justice. I identify as a member of the climate justice movement, and as an organizer of the student-led international fossil fuel divestment movement. I organize on campus with the Kalamazoo College Climate Action Network, working to raise consciousness about climate change, framed as a social justice issue. This department is very informative for my work with the network.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
“There is no thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives” – Audre Lorde

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Trees with Dr. Sara Tanis!! It was incredibly interactive and hands on – lots of field trips – and we read The Golden Spruce which illustrated the struggle between the First Nation Haida People and the lumber industry of the Pacific Northwest. This book sparked my interest in Indigenous land rights and the oppressive relationship between extractive industries and the people they marginalize.

What is your SIP?
I am writing a proposal for a socially responsible investment policy for the college, using the college’s current fossil fuel investments as a case study for implementing divestment and reinvestment. I intend to make both a moral and economic justification for why Kalamazoo College needs to integrate social responsibility into our investment decisions.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Immediately after graduation I intend to continue my involvement in local environmental justice work surrounding the Kalamazoo River, which is the site of the Enbridge oil spill – the largest inland spill in US history. In the longer term, I intend to go to law school with an emphasis on civil rights and environmental law.

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