Steven Westbrook

Steven Westbrook

Major: Liberal Studies-Natural Sciences
Hometown: Citrus Heights, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Zero Waste Coordinator | AS Recycling

Steven is passionate about making a difference – even if others are suspicious of his motives. Steven was bothered by all the recyclable items he would see in regular garbage cans on campus, so at night he would he would go from bin to bin digging out bottles and cans and placing then in recycle bins. After an initial misunderstanding about his late night activities with University Police, Steven contacted AS Recycling to see how he could make a difference on a larger and more visible scale. And voila! He interviewed and was hired as the Zero Waste Coordinator with AS Recycling. Steven now supervises five interns whose focus is to advocate for the campus goal of zero waste by 2015. And how do they do that? They raise awareness about the zero waste goal by tabling, collaborating with other campus groups to get the message out, and assisting with zero waste audits. Educating people about what and how things can be recycled is critical since, according to Steve, 90% of what we throw away is recyclable.

“My job is personally rewarding and it’s a bonus that I get paid to do what I love. There is such flexibility in my job. I get to think of projects that will change the world and do them.” And a perfect example is a grant which Steven wrote to fund the purchase of a cardboard baler for AS Recycling. He submitted the proposal to the Sustainability Fund Allocation Committee who recently approved the purchase. “I’m pretty stroked about it. People have been trying to get a cardboard baler since 1997, so it’s exciting that it’s finally happening. It’s cool because it helps to make our program more sustainable and could potentially provide the program with $10,000 of revenue annually.”

Steven is no stranger to personal activism. He and his brother have organized two bike rides from Sacramento to Oregon to benefit Feed the Hungry and the Nature Conservancy. He is also the recipient of a $10,000 Robert Noyce scholarship which will fund his education as he pursues a teaching credential, hopefully here at Chico State. The scholarship requires a two year commitment to teaching science in a primary or secondary school in a Title 1 area. The prospect excites and inspires Steven. “I love kids – they’re receptive and need role models.” After his teaching commitment is complete, he may consider the Peace Corps as another teaching opportunity abroad.

In Steven’s words:
“I genuinely want to make a difference. I care about the planet. I want my children to experience nature the way I have. I’ll go any lengths to get somewhere. I’m not afraid of hard work.”