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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Julia Bevacqua

I am a third-year student doing a dual degree with business and media (MIT). I originally chose Western for its media program and the chance to fulfil my career goal of becoming a movie soundtrack compiler. This goal changed when I learned more about social and environmental issues plaguing the world through a more in-depth lens in my MIT classes. I realized two things: 1. Tackling those issues was way more important than music, 2. Business could provide me a tremendous outlet to help solve those problems. I am passionate about making a difference and try to live my life accordingly. 

Additional Information

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

To me, sustainability is imperative. It is the process of developing solutions to tackle the root causes of the world’s most serious problems in an effort to protect the future. It is caring about the both the world and the people in it and making decisions with the fragility of both of those in mind. Sustainability encompasses but is not limited to the social, the environmental, and the economic, all of which are incredibly important. Each layer influences other layers, requiring that all be considered when making sustainable decisions. 

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career? 

I see sustainability as playing a tremendous role in my professional career. In my ideal world, I would work for a consulting firm specializing in sustainability. My role would be acting as a consultant, helping other companies to make themselves more sustainable whether it is through their manufacturing processes, their waste management, or their treatment of personnel. I want a job in which sustainability is at its core, not just one side component. However, I understand that not all jobs will encompass sustainability wholeheartedly (yet, anyway). At the very least, I envision myself in a job with a company who values the same things I do and will allow me the opportunities to promote sustainable practices and work to make them a more dominant part of the company or workplace.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

One of my largest commitments is with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), primarily with the engagement portfolio.  I get to interact with students from the elementary to the high school level, teaching them about different global issues such as food scarcity, women’s development, media misrepresentation of Africa, and more.  In addition to teaching, I also work to empower students to use the information they learn to make a change in their own communities. While this may not have the most direct impact, I believe that inspiring just one kid can lead to inspiring thousands more. In addition to EWB, I have participated in small events such as canned food drives and fair trade awareness events that have all had sustainability in mind.

The largest activity I have planned for the summer is a “restorative garage sale”.  After watching The True Cost, a documentary about the fast fashion industry and its social and environmental effects, I pledged to only buy closes that I can wear without feeling like I’m contributing to the immense systems of problems. An awareness event, I am planning a giant garage sale with the intention of informing shoppers about the fashion industry and suggesting ways to combat its negative effects.