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Student emphasizes global environment

Josephine Chu’s environmental concerns extend beyond the University borders. In fact, they extend beyond the borders of the United States and go all the way to China.

“As I learn more about the environment, I realize that we can’t just focus on the United States,” said Chu, a 20-year-old junior from Bay Shore who majors 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 will see the country and examine the environmental problems while taking classes this fall at Nanjing University. Chu will prepare for her studies by focusing on Chinese language and culture this summer at Capital Normal University in Beijing.

“I thought it would be useful for me to have a firm foundation in Chinese so I can make the most of my experience there in the fall,” she said.

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 said.

Chu hopes to pursue a master’s degree in international environmental policy and is considering a career in sustainable agriculture.

She has already built an impressive résumé of environmental work on and off campus.

As president of the Campus Climate Challenge, Chu is promoting local foods and trying to improve energy efficiency. Chu also has worked with the Binghamton Sustainability Coalition, served as a student representative on the Broome County Environmental Management Council and spent the past 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 2008 to campaign for Barack Obama. Earlier this year, she helped organize students to take part in Power Shift, a conference in Washington, D.C., in which thousands 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 said. “It was inspiring.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08