Student Government Director of Sustainability
Jade Chalkley has always been passionate about the environment. When she was growing up, her family traveled the country to visit state and national parks, and she would do Jr. Ranger activities while there. But it wasn’t until she came to FGCU that she decided to go all in and become a leader on the topic.
Still, when she first arrived on campus, she didn’t know what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. But an “Environmental Biology of Southwest Florida” class, in addition to a university master planning meeting she attended, changed all that.
She came upon the planning meeting when advocating for water bottle refill stations on every floor in the South Village residence hall. She learned the building wasn’t plumbed to accommodate that, but she also discovered how much more depth there was to making urban planning decisions for the campus than she knew. That’s when she decided to become a more regular part of the discussion.
Today she leads the environmental cause on campus as the Student Government Director of Sustainability. She also earned a highly coveted research internship with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which allows colleges to learn about the practices others are putting in place and get ideas on how they can improve their own programs.
Jade is a firm believer in higher education’s critical role in sustainability. As she puts it, “Our colleges and universities are the most important places to incorporate sustainability into peoples’ lives. Today’s graduates will be tomorrow’s change makers, and ingraining sustainability education in them now will create awareness and care moving forward.”