by Erin Milcarek
“Sustainability” was not something that was always on my radar. In fact, I would consider myself fairly naïve to the concept until the last couple of years. As for many, the COVID-19 pandemic changed my mindset and lifestyle. After graduating from college in May 2020, I decided to take some time off and travel (as much as I could at the time). By the end of the year, I had visited four national parks and stayed in 17 states while taking three cross-country road trips. I was overwhelmed by what I had been able to see and experience in such a short amount of time, all without even leaving the country. The more I learned about how these parks and the natural world in general were being affected by climate change and other preventable events, the more it concerned me and caused me to wonder what I could do to stop or slow these effects.
One of the most remarkable moments during my road trip was driving through Oklahoma and Texas at night and coming across a sea of blinking red lights filling every corner of the horizon. I realized it was the lights placed at the tops of thousands of wind turbines to warn aviators of their presence. Just like how the famous oil fields of Texas lit up with the flames of gas burn-off, the magnitude of these wind turbines and their blinking lights had completely changed the night sky. Even more incredible was that they were non-existent just a couple decades prior. I realized the sheer scale of change that would need to be wrought on human civilization creating numerous scenes like this one in order to have any chance of preserving the rest of the natural world and its wilderness from climate change.
During my undergraduate years, I had taken about 15 credits worth of business courses to accompany my education degree, but always wished I was able to fit more into my schedule. When I came across the MBA-SBP program, I found that it was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my business education as well as build upon my knowledge of sustainability, both in the natural and business world.