The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Sustainability fellow comes from across the globe to save it

Annika Hesse’s work has focused on improving the campus thrift store. (Photo courtesy of University Alliance RUHR)

The Office of Sustainability has been Annika Hesse’s home away from home for the last seven weeks. Today, after working as the first non-Lafayette student Sustainability Fellow through the Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship, Hesse bids farewell as she heads back to Germany.

Hesse saw this opportunity as her gateway to experiencing America for the first time. Her personal aspirations were deeply intertwined with the desire for cultural immersion, and Lafayette provided the perfect blend of niche American cultural experiences along with the charm of life on a small liberal arts campus.

“Some personal goals were … to improve my written and spoken English, but also to learn more about the education of the students … and the processes at the [college],” Hesse said. “What was also very surprising for me was how close all the students are. They grow up into the community together even if they don’t have the same major because they’re really friendly and welcome everyone.”

As a Dortmund University graduate student pursuing her master’s in industrial engineering, Hesse provided a unique perspective while working for the Office of Sustainability. Most notable is Hesse’s contributions to the office’s thrift store.

This year, we’re trying to make a permanent thrift store, not just pop-ups, so Annika coming to campus as an outside perspective allowed us to sort of dive deeper into the question of, ‘What would it mean to have a permanent thrift store on campus?’” Samantha Smith, Sustainability’s outreach and engagement manager, explained.

Developing the plans for a permanent campus thrift store meant Hesse spent countless hours researching current thrift shopping trends, analyzing student population financial data, conducting surveys on thrift shopping behavior and visiting various thrift stores around Easton to interview their owners.

“We asked questions about what kind of open hours [students] prefer, also which items they want to buy, when they want to buy, how often they want to buy them … to create an overview about the customer profiles, but also to get a better insight into the needs and wants of the students,” Hesse said.

Alanna Haldaman 25, a student fellow who collaborated closely with Hesse on the project, learned about the importance of metrics from Hesse.

She taught me to make sure I take data on everything that I can, whether it be donations or sales,” Haldaman said. “She then taught me how important it is to log these trends over time to see the growth of our campus thrift store.”

Hesse hopes her internship has positively affected the college’s sustainability efforts and that she too can implement these sustainability skills in the next step of her career.

I’m proud that I was able to contribute to a more sustainable campus life and to help the office to better understand how to create a process model, and why a purpose model is so important,” Hesse said. “One part of [my] master’s thesis is focused on the sustainable use of data products. Sustainability will therefore continue to play a role, but with a more specific topic.

Disclaimer: Editor-in-Chief Madeline Marriott ‘24 and Culture Editor Bernadette Russo ‘24 are employed by the Office of Sustainability. They did not contribute writing or reporting.

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Clara Witmer, Staff News Writer
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