Six students pilot launch of NC State Stewards

From left (top): Rachel Gonsalves, Aaron Burkhart, Natalia Ospina (bottom): Brian Iezzi, Caroline Hansley, Lauryn Coombs
From left (top): Rachel Gonsalves, Aaron Burkhart, Natalia Ospina (bottom): Brian Iezzi, Caroline Hansley, Lauryn Coombs

In one semester, six sustainable students helped start a new leadership program that will influence future Wolfpack generations.

NC State Stewards wouldn’t be what it is without Aaron Burkhart, Lauryn Coombs, Rachel Gonsalves, Caroline Hansley, Brian Iezzi and Natalia Ospina.

As the university’s first Stewards, these students shaped the new sustainability ambassador program, which promotes sustainable practices through peer education, workshops, presentations and campus events.

“I love NC State and I want all students here to strive to be as sustainable as possible,” said Iezzi, a sophomore in textile engineering.

“I care about the environment as a whole and the impact humans make on it. Through lifestyle changes I believe we can lessen that and begin to curb climate change,” said Hansley, a junior from Hendersonville, N.C. “I think we can work together to create a more sustainable NC State.”

Sustainability has been a long-time passion for some Stewards and relatively new interest for others. It was just last year that Lauryn Coombs traveled to Belize and came back with a desire to live more sustainably.

“All of our decisions will impact the decisions and lives of future generations,” said Coombs, a sophomore environmental technology major from Pomfret, Md.  “[Being an NC State Steward] offers endless opportunities to pioneer change within our great university.”

While shaping the foundations of the Steward program, students like senior Natalia Ospina found an opportunity to live out her passion for social justice and food sustainability.

“What we do today, what we eat, what we use will have an impact on future generations. Therefore we need to learn how to become more sustainable to make sure that the impact we have on the future is a positive one,” she said.

Beginning in August 2013, the inaugural class of NC State Stewards will hit campus running with a vision of creating a more sustainable NC State. Stay updated on their progress at