Natalie Lessa

Major: Journalism & Public Relations
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Education and Outreach Coordinator | AS Sustainability

How did you first get connected with AS Sustainability?
I walked into BMU 301 a few years ago and was greeted by Lynsey Sammons, AS Intern Coordinator at the time. Her welcoming nature is the reason I committed to the internship – something I had wanted to do ever since moving to Chico. Through meetings, events, and educational workshops I completed my first of many internship positions on projects including Zero Waste and the Green Events Consulting Team which led me to run for office as the AS Commissioner of Environmental Affairs. After my term was over, I returned to AS Sustainability. I couldn’t be happier to once again be part of the AS Sustainability family but this time in a leadership role.

How would you describe your current role with AS Sustainability?
Full of passion and purpose! I am the Education and Outreach Coordinator (a new position this semester) which means I coordinate a team of interns to bring awareness about sustainability issues on campus. This semester we’re focusing on food issues, clean water, and recycling. We’re always thinking of new ways to make environmental benefits appeal to different people. My internships taught me how to make an event greener, how to reduce waste, and encourage others to live sustainably. Now I’m the one that gets to inspire new interns and provide them with the tools to become leaders in sustainability.

What does working for AS Sustainability do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
Being involved in a program that’s making a real difference gives me an experience more rewarding than any other workplace. I’m so passionate about what I do, and I work with people who are all driven and share the same energy. I feel totally empowered and l have a sense of purpose. In order to be an environmental leader one has to be creative enough to inspire the non-believers, optimistic enough to keep trying when ideas are shot down, and determined enough to never give up. Experiencing all of these, I know, will make whatever I do in the future successful.

What do YOU bring to the table in your position with AS Sustainability?
Knowledge, enthusiasm, and a lot of caffeine-driven energy! I’ve been interested in environmental issues since I was a child, and I’ve been studying it ever since. I consider myself a resource for never-ending questions. If I don’t know the answer, my enthusiasm will drive me to find it out. I am truly passionate about what I do every day that I step into the office. That energy, plus my get-up-and-go attitude ensure that work is never boring.

What are your career plans & how does your job with the AS better prepare you for that path?
My job at AS Sustainability has made me realize what I want to do professionally, and that is to bring awareness to sustainable issues. I want to change the world! I want my work to be purposeful. There’s nothing I find more fulfilling and important. I go to work every day knowing that I’m making a difference. It makes my personal lifestyle and professional work very closely related!