A Canandaigua, New York native who volunteered with various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based start-ups to provide sustainability education in Southeast Asia for 13 months following high school will study for free at the nation’s number-one college for sustainability-based education.
A 2015 graduate of Honeoye High School, Sarah M. Gray is the recipient of the Paul and Marsha Fonteyn Make a Difference (MAD) Scholarship, which provides full tuition, room, board and fees for one student at Green Mountain College who demonstrates his/her significant contribution to a fellow human, to society, or toward conservation and sustainability.
In her essay, Gray wrote about her experiences working with the Himalayan Children Care Home in Nepal, The Bamboo Project in Thailand and Koh Samui, Sankalp Volunteers in India, and Plastic Free Cambodia and STAR Kampuchea in Cambodia. She stated, “Somewhere nestled between sublime Northern Thailand and my home soil in upstate New York, I found my passion for agricultural and rural development. As I zig-zagged through India, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand over the past two years, I became painfully aware of the absence of environmental knowledge in communities, villages, and cities around the world.”
As she saw people struggling to find adequate food each day, she wondered how she could help the people of these communities produce ample, sustainable food supplies without compromising the environment. “Those moments, the people, the questions without answers, are what inspired me” she stated.
One of her efforts involved educating Thai students and the local community on the negative impacts of single-use plastic, setting up workshops and recycling stations, and beginning to clean their community.
At a time of heightened attention to the world’s sustainability challenges—environmental, economic and social—students like Sarah give us hope for the future.” said Robert (Bob) Allen, President, Green Mountain College. “Her essay conveyed her commitment to transformative change while protecting and advocating for our natural resources. She is exactly the kind of young leader the world needs: informed, enthused, and purposeful about ensuring a more sustainable world.”
Currently living in Northeastern Thailand and serving as an intern with The Bamboo Project, Gray works to educate children on the power our actions have on the environment and how to make our actions positive and sustainable.
Gray is interested in GMC’s Interdisciplinary major, as well as Environmental Studies. In addition, she is interested in playing soccer with the GMC Eagles.