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Global perspective necessary to preserve the environment

Josephine Chu’s environmental concerns extend far and wide. In fact, they extend well beyond the borders of the United States and as far as China.

“As I learn more about the environment, I realize that we can’t just focus on the United States,” says Chu,  from Bay Shore, Long Island, who majored in environmental studies and political science. “We have to focus on China as well because it’s a growing economy and it has surpassed the U.S. in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Chu isn’t just talking about China. She saw the country and examined the environmental problems while taking classes at Nanjing University. She prepared for her studies by focusing on Chinese language and culture at Capital Normal University in Beijing.

“I thought it would be useful for me to have a firm foundation in Chinese so I could make the most of my experience there,” says Chu, who has also visited Hong Kong.

Peter Knuepfer, director of environmental studies, praised Chu’s leadership and energy.

“She's keenly interested in learning about policy and politics, and I'm sure she'll be pursuing that in China as she seeks to understand their environmental problems and how an Asian-American might be able to help make a difference there,” he says.

As a student at Binghamton, Chu built an impressive résumé of environmental work on and off campus. As president of the Campus Climate Challenge, she and her fellow club members promoted local foods on campus and worked to improve energy efficiency. As an intern for Off Campus College Transit, she researched alternative fuels for OCCT buses. Chu also worked with the Binghamton Sustainability Coalition, served as a student representative on the Broome County Environmental Management Council and spent two summers with the Suffolk County Department of Environment and Energy.

On the national level, Chu traveled to New Hampshire with the College Democrats in January 2008, to campaign for Barack Obama. She also helped organize Binghamton University students to take part in Power Shift, a conference in Washington, D.C., in which thousands of college students gathered to pressure politicians on climate change.

“It was great to meet with other environmentally conscious students from across the nation and get their perspectives and find out what they’re working on,” Chu says. “It was inspiring.”

Now studying global environmental politics in the School of International Science at American University, Chu is considering a career in sustainable agriculture and is pursuing internships in her field.

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Last Updated: 7/20/12