Sophomore environmental science major follows sustainable path
DECEMBER 15, 2011 – When Sam Rivers came to the University of Maryland as a freshman, he immediately knew his niche, Environmental Science and Policy.
"Green thinking is in my family – my mother works for the EPA and my stepdad is an energy auditor," said Rivers. Rivers also spent a week in the summer working at an organic farm with his aunt and uncle.
The challenge for Rivers was not academic, but yet finding the right organizations that fit his interest in both renewable energy and policy. Rivers first joined the rooftop gardens as a volunteer and Ellicott Hall's RHA as vice president of sustainability, but found that the organizations did not fit his goals.
"Neither activity really challenged me in any way," said Rivers. "I wasn't getting to work on energy or policy issues, which was what I really wanted to do."
After speaking with an advisor, Rivers then decided to check out Clean Energy at UMD. "I wasn't too enthusiastic about the group at first, but then they talked about needing to write an op-ed and fill the communications director position and I was all ears. I started working on the op-ed with Campaign Director Hilary Staver that week and never looked back," said Rivers
For CEUMD, Rivers works along side several advocacy groups including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to communicate the organization's stance on legislative issues on county and state levels. Rivers also manages the organization's online presence which includes their website, twitter account, and Facebook pages.
A main focus of Rivers and CEUMD has been climate change and implementation of alternative energy sources. "I deeply believe that slowing climate change is one of the most important issues of our century, but you cannot solve the climate change issue solely by creating more efficient light bulbs and encouraging energy conservation," said Rivers. "At some point, you have to find something to replace the coal plants with – that's why I am interested in renewables."
While at the University of Maryland, Rivers plans to continue his work with CEUMD and to obtain an internship through the federal semester program. Rivers also hopes to continue to excel as an athlete on Maryland Triathlon.
"Getting involved is the most important thing you can do at Maryland, regardless of the subject. Find a good group and run with it," said Rivers.
For more information on Clean Energy at UMD visit the website here.
-David Richards, The Office of Sustainability