Building a better tomorrow
child, Caryn Massey expected her first trip to the beach to be paradise. But
instead of gazing upon crystal blue water and white sandy beaches, Massey witnessed
a very different reality.
trash littered across the beach and I wondered how someone could deface
something so beautiful,” Massey says. “I just couldn’t stand it, so I said to
myself, ‘I have to do something.’”
day, Massey vowed to make a difference. Over time, she became dedicated to
battling environmental negligence as both a volunteer and environmental club
leader in high school.
really passionate about improving our community,” Massey says. “Growing up, I
was always volunteering and helping local chapters of The Nature Conservancy.”
it wasn’t until she arrived at Northern Arizona University that Massey found
the support base necessary to create a better tomorrow.
In her effort
to further promote harmony between humans and nature, Massey chose to double-major
in environmental studies and public relations. She hopes to use her experience,
education, and writing talent to make a difference on a much larger scale.
love the idea of marketing, but I also enjoy the environment and
sustainability,” Massey says. “When I think of sustainability as a word, it
makes me think of human rights and the environment together. If we don’t have
an environment, we don’t have a place to live.”
after enrolling at Northern Arizona University, Massey earned an internship
with the Environmental Caucus,
a grassroots group of faculty, students, and staff who work together to help build
and support sustainability-related programs.
addition to her other contributions, Massey is making a significant difference
through her work as committee chair for the Green Fund, a program that strives
to create an ecology-conscious campus through student-driven ideas.
Fund began in 2010 when a group of students petitioned the Arizona Board of Regents
to add a five dollar fee to each student’s tuition. This “green fee” would then
be used to fund projects that advance the university’s sustainability efforts.
idea alone is a game-changer,” Massey says. “Students who have these great ideas
would have not otherwise made it a reality if they didn’t have the money.”
Fund board is comprised of six students and three staff members who decide how
the green fee should be spent. Since its inception, the group has approved 20
projects, which include a compost program, an organic garden, and even a bicycle hub that offers
repairs and advice for new riders.
to focus on the culture of sustainability and reaching carbon neutrality,”
Massey says. “We want students to see how it’s affecting campus.”
future, Massey hopes the Green Fund will be able to increase its fee to better
organize renewable energy source projects and other full-scale ventures. She
believes working to create a closer interaction with students will make the
Green Fund successful – and sustainable - for future generations.
Green Fund is unique because it is very much for the students, by the
students,” Massey says. “This is something directly linked with administration,
but also student-based; it cuts out that middleman by bringing those two worlds
to her roots
Massey’s on-campus efforts continue to grow, she is preparing to draw on these
experiences as she pursues a career that blends her passion for environmental
and human rights.
love to work with a business that is philanthropic and cares about our
environment,” Massey says. “One that is hoping to protect it, but also cares
about human rights and how the two are very closely linked together.”
grateful for the opportunities she’s had at Northern Arizona University, and
how they’ve enabled her to stay true to the vow she made that day as a child on
you’re sustainability-focused and minded, it’s easy to get involved at Northern
Arizona University and be passionate,” Massey says. “It’s been such a great