Rising Star Q & A: Michelle Bouton (April 2015)

The Rising Star column profiles students who have had close contact with the UC Sustainability Office and have graduated from UC, or will graduate very soon. In this column they share what they are currently doing and what their plans are for the future.

This edition’s Rising Star is Michelle Bouton, who worked part-time for the Sustainability Office in 2014 as a marketing and communications coordinator.

picture When were you at UC? What did you qualify in? I started at UC in 2009. I did my undergrad in Marketing, then decided to continue with postgraduate studies. I Graduated in April 2014 with a Masters in Marketing, my thesis looked at nutritional food labelling and how different information can influence behaviour change.

What have you been doing since you graduated? I did Outward Bound, which was the most challenging and rewarding three weeks of my life! It taught me a lot about environmental issues and how to be more minimalistic. After that I went on a 6 month OE; I explored South America and the States for 6 months. Now I have the travel bug!

What are you doing in your current job? What are you most excited about? I’m currently working in Wellington for a market research company. I’m learning so much everyday. It’s challenging but I’m excited to have started my career in what I studied.

I can’t wait to have some experience behind me so I can venture into a job that I am passionate about. My goal is to get a job that enables me to provide information so people can make informed consumption choices. I believe over-consumption is an issue that is effecting the environment and also society as a whole and I want to educate people about it.

How did your degree at UC prepare you to think about sustainability issues (or social marketing)? I have a particular interest in social marketing, which is why I focused my studies on ways to better society and encourage people to lead healthier, happier lifestyles.

How has the UC Sustainability Office contributed to your thinking and/or skill development in relation to sustainability? The UC Sustainability Office gave me the mindset I needed to be sustainable. It made me aware of my habits, and showed me ways in which I could change “bad” habits. This not only reduced what I was consuming but also saved me money. I am now far more conscious about the products I consume. I try to recycle everything I can and be resourceful instead of wasteful. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I make or reuse things, I enjoy sewing, knitting, brewing and gardening.

It’s a lifestyle choice that I now encourage others to make as well. It’s cool knowing that my friends have also started to make conscious, sustainable choices because of what I’ve told them and now they get satisfaction out of it too!

Do you have a favourite ‘sustainability moment’ on campus? During Ecoweek at UC: seeing the look on the students faces when they realised banana could be turned into ice cream and taste great! Trying to make them as fast as possible as the line kept growing, of course eating a couple myself … (Ed: Fair trade banana icecreams were made on campus during Ecoweek, a yearly event at UC).

If you could wave a wand, what would a sustainable University of Canterbury campus look like? Green Roofs on every building, a fruit forest somewhere around campus and a recycling system that rewards you for putting rubbish in the correct bin!

In five/ten years’ time, what would you like to be doing? Working for an organisation doing social marking that promotes sustainability and/or healthy lifestyles choices.

Check here for more information on other Eco Us projects or how to get involved with Sustainability at UC.


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