GreenLight Solutions Foundation intern Jennifer (Heejoo) Min interviewed recent alumni Christian Volp to learn about his journey from college to the professional world.

 

 How did you get involved with GreenLight?

I was studying abroad at ASU in August 2019  as part of my dual-degree program at Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany. I heard about GreenLight Solutions Foundation during the Passport to ASU event. I signed up for the organization and worked with the Stardust Project.

Tell us about your project and responsibilities.

I worked on the Stardust GreenLight Project. They collect building materials, like granite counter tops and appliances, from homes that are under construction for renovation and try to find ways to repurpose the materials. We had a difficult time finding companies who wanted the reclaimed granite counter tops because there was no demand for it, but we found a company that wanted to turn the counter tops into gravel.

What was your favorite memory from your time with GreenLight?

My favorite memory is definitely the biannual GreenLight Retreat at Arcosanti. It was a weekend orientation event. The architecture and the whole place was really cool. Also, the people that I met were my fondest memories. I really loved the people that I met through GreenLight. Ashley, the leadership board, and Josh. They really made my studying abroad experience amazing.

What was your most valuable takeaway from GreenLight?

People matter so much. Again, I really liked the people that I met. The project itself was fun being with such an ambitious group of people who were all passionate about sustainability. 

What was the difference between your GLS project and the classroom learning experience?

The Greenlight project was more hands-on. For my class project, I gave a presentation to a few important people. For the Greenlight project, I presented in front of hundreds of people and it was empowering to transfer messages to that many people.

What is your advice for students who are starting to build their sustainability career?

Be hands on. Actually do something to present the result and benefit.

How did your perspective on sustainability change over the years?

Sustainability is definitely something that companies can profit from. I knew it before, but now I firmly believe it.

What soft and hard skills did you gain from the project?

People skills! I had to approach a lot of people during the project to find recycling partners for the granite. Also, teamwork, project management skills, and learning how to use various software tools. 

You mentioned that you are currently writing a thesis for your graduate school. What is your thesis about?

It is about self-actualization and enabling sustainability.

What do you mean by self-actualization?

When you look at Maslow’s hierarchy, self-actualization is on the top level of the needs. It is being able to express and realize the full potential.

So does it discuss if people want to transform themselves, places of work, governments, and communities to sustainability, people must realize their ability to change?

Yes, exactly!