Jenna Long

jenna longJenna Long is a second-year sustainability major with a minor in honors interdisciplinary studies. Her love of the outdoors led her to switch her major to sustainability and pursue a future career helping the environment. Currently, Jenna is a San Diego State campus leader for Seedlings, a multimedia platform focused on positive environmental news and encouragement. Read the spotlight article with Jenna to learn about her sustainability journey, experience being a sustainability major, and work with Seedlings.

When did your passion for sustainability start?

Being outdoorsy has always my thing. I go on a lot of hikes and photograph nature. Then, I took a trip to Canada that really solidified my love of the outdoors. In high school, I started protecting the environment, starting with discouraging littering and encouraging trash cleanups. My senior year of high school I took AP Environmental Science and that class brought me knowledge that could back up my passion for the environment. I went to college and started doing marketing, but sustainability was always in the back of my mind. After taking a trip to Montana, I made the final decision to switch to sustainability. Traveling in the outdoors and photography have really been the things that pushed my sustainability journey forward.

Sustainability is still on the rise and as a result, sustainability is a new and small major. What have you found unique, helpful, or interesting about the major?

Something unique is how small it is. People are always asking me what the sustainability major is, and it’s fun explaining it to people. I like how many paths you can take within sustainability. When I first started out in the major, I thought that environmental consulting was the only career route, but I soon realized that there are so many options in sustainability. When I take GE classes, I notice how sustainability connects to everything and how it’s something that everybody can use. Personally, I like taking the environmental policy classes.

You’re a campus leader for Seedlings at SDSU. Could you share what Seedlings is all about?

Seedlings is a multimedia platform that hopes to inspire rather than leave people feeling helpless about environmental news. The state of the environment can get really depressing, so Seedlings focuses on positive change that is happening. I got involved through first following their Instagram and then signing up for their newsletter. Through the newsletter, I saw information about their ambassador program, which I signed up for. I ended up getting involved and having a meeting with the creator. He offered the campus leader opportunity, which I happily accepted. The goal is to create a college network based on empathy and community. Right now, we have an Instagram @seedlings.sdsu to create content that pertains to college students.

What advice would you give to people just starting to get involved with sustainability?

You don’t have to perfect. To start out, join a club that relates to sustainability because it will get you more informed and help you be conscious of your everyday decisions. For example, when you’re at the store, be conscious of your shopping decisions and if there’s a sustainable swap, make it! Sustainable swaps lead to more and more sustainable decisions but along the way, you don’t have to be perfect at it. Every little thing matters! Get informed and look up websites and events that can get you involved.

It sounds like sustainability started for you as a hobby and later shifted to your area of study/ future career. Could you talk about how that shift has been? How did you see sustainability then vs. how do you see it now?

The shift started to happen as a made little changes in my life and started to be more conscious of how my actions impact the environment. It mostly started because I wanted a job where I could spend time in nature. I wanted a career path where I could work at a National Park first and then later go corporate with it. I knew that I wanted to travel and work in an environmentally conscious way. Then it transitioned into watching documentaries about sustainability and educating myself more. Through that, I became inspired and passionate. Through college classes, I’ve learned a lot that has shifted my perspective from sustainability being something that everybody needs to focus on personally to sustainability being a system and policy issue.