Emma Cronin graduated with a double major in English and Spanish from Holy Cross in 2015. After graduating, she interned and worked in the Obama Administration as a climate policy agent. Since leaving the White House, she has also gone on to do work at the UN Foundation in the climate sector. I spoke to Emma to learn more about her path to working in sustainability.
Q: How do you think your particular major prepared you for working in the sustainability field?
The education at Holy Cross, being a liberal arts school, is extremely comprehensive. There was a lot of stress put on creating multi-faceted approaches to complex problems, as well as stress placed on the importance of effective communication. Despite my majors not being environmentally focused, there was plenty of preparation done that made me comfortable when I began working in sustainability.
Q: How would you define the term “sustainability?” Has your understanding of what sustainability means changed throughout the course of your career?
I used to think that sustainability was all about individual action because that’s how it is marketed to the masses by big companies and corporations, but since I’ve begun my career, I have seen how it is a much larger issue and policy is needed to control climate change. I believe that climate and sustainability is the big issue of our generation.
Q: How can students become involved in sustainable initiatives at school and in the workplace?
There are tons of ways to get involved with sustainability on campus. Food waste on campus and divestment initiatives are a couple of areas that have been recently active, and you can always get involved in Worcester. My advice would be to do what you can, but don’t feel obligated to do something if you are too busy or don’t really want to.
Q: Did you have any pivotal experiences that made you interested in working toward a more sustainable future in your field?
Working in the White House was certainly a pivotal experience for me in my professional life and has made me more interested in working in sustainability. Those you can meet can and will help shape your path, so be open to meeting new people and having new experiences.
Interview paraphrased and blog post written by Anne Kiernan ’23.