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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Sustainability expo to engage students in environmental, energy studies

The Sustainability Expo, organized by faculty and staff, will take place Monday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to engage students in informational, research and job opportunities in sustainability, energy and environmental areas both on and off-campus. The expo concludes Notre Dame’s Energy Week. 

Rachel Novick, director of the Sustainability minor and co-organizer of the event, said the expo is an event for all types of students. 

“Sustainability is a multidisciplinary field,” Novick said. “Students come from a lot of different perspectives, so the expo is really designed to address a variety of different interests and means.”

Participants include research groups on campus, Notre Dame centers and academic disciplines, as well as local and national companies working in the sustainability and environmental areas. 

Barbara Villarosa, co-organizer of the expo, said it was originally started to help students find opportunities for research on campus but has grown since then. 

Since 2010, students have had a growing interest in sustainability and environmental studies, so the event has expanded to include other types of opportunities, such as internships or even full-time jobs, Villarosa explained. 

“We had to broaden the program, and we thought it was a great opportunity to team up with Career Development and include employers who might already be on campus for the career fair to come to our program, so students in a smaller environment have a greater opportunity to chat with them and discuss potential internships and even job opportunities,” Villarosa said. 

Novick also highlighted opportunity for attendees to connect with  companies and organizations that are hiring in the field of sustainability at the expo.

“I think that’s one of the things that our students are most excited about — the opportunity to explore how sustainability can be integrated into a career,” Novick said. “It’s not a traditional discipline but it is a really fast-growing field.” 

Marathon Capital, which specializes in investing in renewable energy, is one of the companies which will be present at the expo.

Novick said an alumnus of the sustainability minor who works at the company was hired by Marathon Capital because of his combined background in finance and sustainability. 

“It’s a great example of a job in which he’s been able to put his sustainability education to work right away, so he’s excited to come back and share that with our students,” Novick said. 

Inovateus Solar, a national solar builder and developer with headquarters located in South Bend, will also have an exhibit at the expo. 

“They have an excellent partnership with Notre Dame. They have been here multiple times to give talks and be a part of several of our events, especially during Energy Week. We’re delighted to have them join us,” Villarosa said. “They have internship programs. I’m sure there will be job opportunities as well.”

In years past, the Sustainability Expo was held in the winter in tandem with the winter career fair. However, Novick said organizers are expecting the biggest turnout at the event yet, as it hopefully serves as a more timely resource for students in the fall rather than during the winter.