Last summer, Ann Payne, Master of Sustainability ’14, immersed herself in a self-crafted adventure of active participation and learning from professionals and stakeholders in three pillars of sustainability: economics, environment and people/societies.
Growing up in Louisiana, the idea and practice of sustainability has always had a presence in her life and consciousness. She came to Chatham University to pursue her Master of Sustainability degree as part of a goal to making positive contributions to life on a finite planet. As part of her degree program, Payne took this summer to participate in a self-developed three-part program that spanned the country from west to east and into the Caribbean, all aimed at enhancing her education and experiences.
The Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University is housed at the University’s new Eden Hall Campus, functioning as a living and learning laboratory. Eden Hall will feature high performance green buildings and the latest in sustainable land, energy, and water management techniques
For Payne’s immersive experience, she started in San Diego, volunteering as a staff photographer for the world’s largest sustainable business conference, Sustainable Brands. The conference revealed the world of commerce’s take on the meaning of sustainability initiatives, and how they communicate to their customers through world class communications pieces. She found inspiration as she networked with some of the industry’s most inspiring businesses and individuals, while also attending plenaries and workshops and photographing conference events.
From there, Payne went back to Pittsburgh where she worked alongside Dr. Molly Mehling to construct photography field studios that would be effective for creating tack-sharp images of water macroinvertebrates. The images would be used for public awareness and education on how macroinvertebrates affect water quality monitoring. The experience also gave her the opportunity to learn sampling methods.
Her final stop was spent in St. John, USVI where Payne taught art and sustainability to a group of 25 children, ages 3-13. That turned into a deeper opportunity as she was offered a position to begin constructing a social marketing strategy for Dr. Crystal Fortwangler’s film company, WiderAngle Productions.
Creating an understanding and appreciation for protection of natural resources, environments, and healthy lifestyles is Payne’s lifetime goal, and gaining a professional degree in sustainability has bolstered her sense of direction for this all-encompassing framework for life.
Chatham University’s Master of Sustainability degree provides the professional skills necessary to champion and implement sustainability, and the underlying academic knowledge to do so well. As part of the program, students are required to complete a 200-400 hour experience of immersion into a professional setting or field-based research setting.