Throughout his life, Finn Swanstrom-Arnold ’21, a native of Washburn, Wisconsin, has enjoyed thinking critically and creatively and has always had a passion for hands-on learning.
A double major in Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) and Sustainable Agriculture, Finn admits that he was attracted to Green Mountain College for its affordability and sustainability mission. “Many other colleges with a Sustainability Office keep it separate from other aspects of campus life. At GMC, Sustainability is thoroughly integrated into academics, campus life, and most other aspects of the school,” stated Finn. “I really like how much of the school is student-driven. If injustices are seen, or a student wants to complete a project, it is generally pretty easy to make their voices heard.”
Through the REED program, Finn discovered that he can put his passion for solving real-world problems to life. “As the world population grows, there is a need for housing and community spaces,” stated Finn. “Buildings take up a large chunk of energy consumption, so designing them to reduce energy and resource consumption, as well as for resiliency against increasing of natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, forest fires, droughts, rising sea levels) is essential.” He also recognizes that access to sustainable design is a privilege and Finn is always striving to make sustainable design incorporate marginalized communities and refugees. “Progress is not sustainable unless it is accessible to all people, not just those who can afford it,” shares Finn.
Upon learning about how food is produced through his Sustainable Agriculture coursework, Finn has been working to determine how individuals can make better choices in order to positively influence change to those food systems.
Finn is involved in many aspects of student life. He has competed on the men’s soccer team for two years, played on the lacrosse team last spring, and serves as Director of Facilities on Student Senate. In addition, Finn has been involved in the Sustainability Office, serving as a waste diversion specialist sorting campus recycling and compost. In an effort to make our compost pile more efficient, Finn took the tractor safety course in the fall of 2018, and now uses the farm’s tractor to flip the compost on a weekly basis.
He recently attended the Students for Zero Waste conference for 2018 in Philadelphia, PA and learned how critical it is for sustainable change to incorporate oppressed people and communities.
Upon graduation, Finn is planning to pursue a masters degree in the sustainable design field or architecture.