Masters of Environmental Management Students Bring Creative Sustainability Solutions to Campus

student posing behind waste bins

Masters of Environmental Management Students Bring Creative Sustainability Solutions to Campus

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 8:30am

The incoming Masters class promotes sustainability practices on campus and in the community like recycling and sourcing fresh food from local farms.

Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) Program, which began just a couple of short years ago, continues to grow and attract diverse students from across the globe. The incoming class hails from 30 universities and brings a wealth of knowledge from 16 different undergraduate programs. These 39 new students joined the 33 second-year students to form a robust program.

Ayodeji Oluwalana is among the MEM second-year class. He immigrated with his family from Nigeria to Gunnison to study intensively in the program. Students have the option to study in full-residency or low-residency through program’s distance learning option, which is aimed for committed environmental professionals actively involved in their home community. Regardless of which option they choose, the program values the global perspectives its students bring and it has partnerships with organizations around the world.

Oluwalana emphasized the practical experience he is gaining moving beyond the theoretical nature of the classroom. Through thought-provoking discussions with his classmates, a close relationship with his professors, he is constantly challenged. “I am pursuing projects I would have never thought of,” he said.

Before working towards his MEM degree at Western, Oluwalana spent over six years working for Covenant University in Ota, Nigeria, on improving the university’s waste management systems. Before this he received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management & Toxicology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Oluwalana hopes to bring his passion for waste management with universally applicable ideas to the Gunnison Valley.

As part of the Sustainable & Resilient Communities Track, Oluwalana hopes to spread critical awareness of the importance of recycling practices to campus. He plans to “upcycle” underutilized plastics to develop affordable housing structures.

“I recommend this program for anyone who wants to grow professionally and that wants more than to go through the motions of grad school, but wants to be well-equipped life after school. You have to have the right skill set, the right mentality, an ‘I can do it’ spirit to be able to be competitive out there. That’s what the program gives you.”


Story and Photo by Taylor Cull, Marketing Communications.