The Environmental, Sustainability and Energy Career Fair is coming up soon at Western Washington University. The event will be on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wade King Student Recreation Center’s MAC Gym.
The event is open to students of all majors interested in environmental and sustainability-related careers.
“I’d love to see not only our students come out for it, but students from the other colleges too,” said Ed Weber, the College of the Environment program advisor. “It's a great experience as far as learning not only what you like to do, but sometimes learning what you don’t like to do.”
Around 50 to 60 employers are anticipated to be at the fair, Weber said. The employers come from different sectors of the environmental career field, including energy studies, nonprofits, governmental agencies and research labs.
“I’m definitely going to check out the Bureau of Land Management’s stand,” said Alejandro Garcia, a Western first-year majoring in urban planning and sustainable development. “Also the Army Corps of Engineers because the civic work that they do is interesting.”
Some other notable employers slated to be at the event are Silfab Solar, Washington State Parks, the Washington State Department of Ecology, Whatcom Land Trust and the Skagit County Noxious Weed Board.
Some of the employers will have Western alumni representing them at the event, Weber said.
Whatcom Land Trust’s Communications Coordinator, Kristy Lee, is one of the alumni who will be at the fair. She graduated from the Fairhaven College at Western with a degree in law, diversity and justice in 2020.
Lee’s career path is an example of how students with degrees outside of the College of the Environment can get into the field.
“Environmental issues are really interdisciplinary and you have to take a lot of different perspectives in order to come to conclusions or solutions for the issues that we’re currently facing,” Lee said. “Having a wide variety of knowledge bases and experience is really important in this field.”
Madelyn Loy, the noxious weed coordinator for Skagit County, is another Western alumna coming to the career fair. She graduated from Western in 2017 with a degree in environmental science with an emphasis in marine ecology.
Last year, Skagit County recruited three seasonal noxious weed aides, all of whom were Western students.
“They were so phenomenal to work with and really seemed to take everything seriously, from plant ID to herbicide handling to communicating with landowners,” Loy said.
Loy and the rest of the Noxious Weed Board are hoping to bring on three seasonal noxious weed aides again this year.
“I figure that if we found such rock stars last year, maybe we can recruit a few more again this year at the career fair,” Loy said.
The fair has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Around 20 years ago, the event only consisted of a few desks down in the basement of the Environmental Science Building and Arntzen Hall, Weber said.
“I love to see large turnouts for any events that we do,” Weber said. “It shows that the businesses are interested in what our students are learning, and that we’re providing a valuable pathway for our students to enter a viable career path for themselves.”
Xander Johnson (he/him) is a campus news reporter for The Front. He is majoring in Public Relations/Journalism. In his free time, he hosts a radio show at KUGS FM, goes hiking with friends, and loses track of time reading books. Xander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.