Alexandra Cotrufo is a Scheme A student in the SSAS program who completed her first year in April 2022. As part of her degree requirements, Alexandra has spent her Spring/Summer term completing a co-op work placement. We recently spoke to Alexandra about her job as a Sustainability Coordinator with the ESRC, and the positive impacts her job has had on her understanding of sustainability and her long-term career goals.
What are the main duties and projects you’re working on in your job?
In my role, I support the Charter Agreement between Facilities Management and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) in advancing sustainability initiatives and efforts on campus. Some of my specific tasks include developing social media content and managing the BUsustainable accounts, working on a plan to improve the university’s waste communication practices, writing stories for The Brock News, updating our Environmental Sustainability Plan, and more.
How did your course work in the Master of Sustainability program contribute to the success you’ve experienced in your Co-op role?
My course work in the Master of Sustainability program played an important role in my success as a Co-op student. Throughout my course work term, I gained valuable research skills which have been beneficial when exploring best sustainability practices for the university, as well as for informing me of basic sustainability principles. Through group projects, I learned how to effectively communicate and collaborate with others to reach a desired end goal. These experiences have equipped me with the critical teamwork skills that are needed in my Co-op role.
What was one lesson you’ve learned that you hope to bring into your career?
One lesson I’ve learned that I hope to bring into my career is that critical thinking in the field of sustainability science is extremely important. When working toward finding sustainable solutions and ways to integrate environmental sustainability into policies and practice, it is necessary to apply a critical lens to the situation so you can determine whether something is being done in the best way possible. By practicing critical thinking, you can illuminate problems that may not have otherwise been detected.
How has your Co-op role enriched your understanding of sustainability?
My Co-op role has enriched my understanding of sustainability immensely. My role as a Sustainability Coordinator has highlighted that sustainability has a place in everything we do, and it should be at the forefront of all business decisions to ensure we progress toward a healthier and safer planet for everyone.