Minor: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Orland, CA
Teresa grew up on a ranch so she’s not afraid of manual labor — and she has certainly had her share working the compost shift with AS Recycling. She was part of a crew who picked up all the food waste on campus and transported it to a chipper at the University Farm where it was converted into fertilizer. She has been with AS Recycling for 1-1/2 years and has been promoted to the Safety and Operations Supervisor where she now supervises 7-8 students.
Seeing firsthand the unnecessary waste created by society has sparked an all consuming passion in Teresa. She’s the first to tell you, “My job has changed my outlook and my lifestyle 180 degrees. I consume less, recycle more. People know that I care when they see me digging through the garbage sorting out items.” Teresa’s passion is to teach others — to make them aware of what’s at stake. “It’s not just how you dispose of something, but educating people to buy products with less packaging or things that are compostable. I love people to ask me questions and I feel good when I can provide the answers.”
Teresa works out of the Rainbow Warehouse just off campus. As the safety and operations supervisor her responsibilities include scheduling staff for pick-up routes, insuring they have proper safety training to do their job, and conducting outreach. “Tabling in freshmen residence halls is important. We want to teach students as soon as they come to Chico State why recycling is important.” However, the most time-consuming part of her job is sorting, cleaning and organizing all the materials that arrive at the warehouse in a steady stream. After sorting, much of the material is delivered to various vendors for recycling. And, if you drop by the warehouse on Saturdays, you’ll find a wide variety of “stuff” free for the taking — including school and office supplies and books. They even post things free things on Craigslist!
Teresa speaks highly of her co-workers and her supervisor. “I’ve never met so many people who I clicked with. We have the same values — so much in common. Each day I feel like I’m personally achieving a bigger goal.”
Career-wise, Teresa would like to use her journalism degree to write about conservation and the importance of finding equilibrium between available resources and society’s needs and demands.
In Teresa’s words:
“This job has had more impact on me than any other job I’ve ever had. Every day I do something good for the environment. I’m helping to achieve the goal of zero waste that our campus has adopted.”