Rob Pudner '09
Protecting the Natural World
Though Junior Rob Pudner grew up in the suburbs of Edison, New Jersey, he frequently found an excuse as a youth to venture into the wilderness to pitch a tent for a few nights or go for a simple hike. It was that feeling of ultimate satisfaction, of being comfortably isolated in the middle of the woods that drew him, and has continued to draw him ever since. These experiences have not only created blissful memories; they have helped shape a person dedicated to protecting the natural world for future generations to enjoy.
“We need to appreciate what we have and preserve what we have left” is the eternal mantra of this environmental studies major, and he proves it through his actions here on campus. As his Delicate Balance project this past semester, Rob began the “Free Store,” a space donated by the college where students can go to pick up or drop off second-hand items. While the project has many motivations, Rob cites our society’s “serious dependency on material goods” as one of the main contributors. “We need to reduce and conserve; we need to overall change our consumption patterns,” Rob says, and he hopes the Free Store will contribute to this holistic change.
To go along with this theme of reducing and conserving, Rob is also a member of the recycling crew—a group he joined at the beginning of last summer—for which he helps collect and sort the recycled products on campus. He has recently become the go-to-guy for composting, too. As a part of this, Rob organizes student volunteers to bring the compost produced by GMC’s dining hall down to the farm. “The only negative effect,” Rob jokes, “is that people now associate me with compost.”
Rob is also involved with other environmentally friendly projects on campus. As a member of the Student Campus Greening Fund Committee, Rob assists students with their written proposals for projects that will help “green” the campus, and then helps execute the ones that are passed. Furthermore, Rob recently helped organize the “Focus the Nation” event (a nationwide effort to educate the public about global warming) held at GMC January 31.
“It was incredibly surreal,” Rob says. “We were contacting world-renowned scholars and politicians! While before we were reading their books and articles, now we were responsible for communicating with them, and they were actually responding.”
After college, Rob wants to “experience the world” and travel while working various jobs. Eventually, he would like to settle down and open up a sustainable second-hand outdoor goods store for those who can’t afford the expensive equipment sometimes required to explore the natural world safely.
“I couldn’t be involved in half of the activities I am in now because I couldn’t afford it before,” he says. “A store like this would increase recreation for all.”