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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Sabrina Petta

Hi I’m Sabrina and I have a knack for remembering names and faces. It’s both a blessing and a curse. This strange talent drove my passion for working with people and encouraged me to pursue extracurricular, volunteer, and work experiences that focus on bettering the lives of others. In my free time, I love to sew! I taught myself the trade over the summer after learning about the dark side of the fashion industry. The ability to create something from scratch, make mistakes along the way, and save myself some coin in the process, has me hooked! I even made what I’m wearing in my picture! 

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

My personal definition of sustainability is constantly being developed and refined. I think it’s important to be open to new perspectives and information which could alter and enhance your beliefs. With that in mind, my underlying and everlasting definition of sustainability revolves around progress. Progress towards a world that considers the economic, social, and environmental impacts of their actions so an inhabitable and inclusive planet exists in the future. No business, organization, entity, or person needs to be perfect, but we should all strive to be conscious of our actions’ repercussions today and for future generations. If we collectively focus on that, we can not only empower ourselves but develop the foundations to positively uphold the future.  

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

I wrote down two quotes that I felt resonated with me and how I see sustainability playing a role in my professional career. The first was, “If you have the power to do something, you should.” The other was, “You don’t want to be two different people between your home life and your work life.” As Ivey students, I think it is our responsibility to show how business can be a force for good. Businesses often get bad reputations for being too focused on profit and only look at what betters their bottom-line. Now however, consumers want to cast their vote towards sustainable initiatives and companies that are not solely driven by profit. Moreover, it is increasingly possible to combine your passion for business with social impact, drive change, and bring your values into the workplace. Sustainability is going to play a HUGE role in my professional career because of my values. I need to know that what I do from 9-5 aligns with those values so that I can bring my energy and passion to the workplace.  

Most people view the fashion world to be glamorous and chic, which it undoubtedly is but it also has a dark side. The growing demand for fast-fashion results in enormous environmental, social, and economic implications worldwide. As someone who has always found comfort, self-expression, and a creative outlet in fashion, learning about the true cost of the shirt on my back is disheartening. Ideally, I want my professional career to revolve around finding sustainable solutions to current fashion consumption that are also affordable and accessible to all.  

 What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

My past and current sustainability projects have cast a wide net, and not followed any one particular theme, but I think that’s what makes sustainability exciting!  

A few years ago, I organized a community drive to collect cleaning products, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and food staples for local shelters. Many of these packaged goods are overlooked when people donate. It was critical to educate my community on the needs of those who use the shelters and how to best support them.  

Since starting at Western, I have been involved with Crafting for a Cure where we volunteer at local health organizations to provide children with a creative outlet during their time at the treatment facility by making crafts and socializing with them. As President this year, I have pivoted the club’s operations to offer new initiatives like craft kits and we have partnered with additional community organizations like Women’s Shelters!  

On a more personal note, I learned to sew with upcycled materials to minimize my impact on the negative side of the fashion industry. I also donated fabric masks to local administrators, community members, and health care workers to wear comfortably outside. Finally, I have recently transitioned to a completely vegetarian diet for sustainability reasons! Overall, I love the path my sustainability passion has taken me down and look forward to where it’s headed!

Sabrina Petta

Sabrina Petta