Leading the Way Q & A with Christine Tamburri:
Is there anything specific that inspired you to get involved with sustainability issues?
I have always had a love for the ocean, but after getting certified to SCUBA dive in 2016, I became obsessed with implementing sustainable practices to protect it at all costs.
What projects/efforts are you involved with now that are making Penn State and/or our world more sustainable and how is the work being accomplished?
As President of the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club, I have had the opportunity to coordinate presentations by distinguished speakers in events that are free and open to the public. Last spring, we hosted Autumn Blum, founder of Stream2Sea, as she spoke about contaminants found in personal care products and how they can impact the environment. This event gained interest from Campus Recreation – Outdoor Adventures as they committed to providing eco-friendly sunscreen to all participants on their adventure trips. This March, the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club [hosted] Dr. Sylvia Earle, world-renowned oceanographer and current Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, as she [spoke] about the immediate call to action for ocean conservation. This event [fostered] a collaboration between multiple organizations at Penn State and [featured] a VIP reception that will allow researchers, students, and community members to interact with Dr. Earle in a more intimate setting.
What do you hope the impact of this work will be in the future (5, 10 or 25 years from now)?
I hope that people walk away from our events realizing that with a slight change in lifestyle, they can make a positive impact on the environment. The Nittany Divers SCUBA Club is driven by an unmatched love for the underwater world, and we strive to educate others on not only its beauty, but its importance to the planet as a whole. I also hope that various organizations at Penn State see our events and commit to utilizing more sustainable practices in their own operations.
Do you have any partnerships with other individuals or organizations making this work possible?
We are currently an affiliate partner with Stream2Sea, a relationship that enables us to spread the word about their conservation efforts more effectively. In addition, we are partnered with several organizations for Dr. Sylvia Earle’s presentation, including the Sustainability Institute, the Council of Sustainable Leaders, Stream2Sea, Fin Pin Shop, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Biology Department.
What’s one new thing you’ve learned about sustainability over the past year?
I have learned that with a small amount of dedication from a small group of individuals, major changes can be implemented. In addition, I have learned that a sustainable practice only takes the enthusiasm of one individual to influence others to take part in something that is bigger than themselves.
If you could ask people to make one change, either on an individual or collective level, to advance sustainability at Penn State, what would it be?
I love football just as much as the next Penn State fan, but I truly believe that there is an alternative to the pom poms used in the student section. Not only are these items made of plastic, but they are single-use. Thousands of pom poms enter our landfills each year, so finding an alternative medium to show our spirit, such as towels or scarves, will promote people to reuse the items and to produce less waste.