Ian Hopkins, BSC Associate
Degree program: Business Administration with Marketing concentration ‘19
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Sustainability Interests: Sustainable business & economy practices, renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure/green housing and sustainable agriculture
Why is sustainability important to you? Why do you think it should be important to other students?
Sustainability is important to me because I believe it is imperative to our way of life. The more businesses who incorporate sustainable practices and trends into the fabric of their business, the better off we will all be as a society. Sustainable development is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As young students, we are basically the future of our society, so students should definitely care about this topic because it will undoubtedly affect them in the coming years.
What first sparked your interest in sustainability? What made you realize that you wanted to incorporate sustainability into your education and future career?
I stumbled across the topic of sustainability during my freshmen year, while I was still undecided on my major. I knew I wanted to have a value-driven career, and I asked myself “what is the biggest problem of my generation?” My answer was the degradation of our environment, so I began to seek out careers involving environmentalism. After conducting a number of career interviews with professionals in environmental industries, I came across the notion of business sustainability. That’s when I realized that it was the perfect career path for me because it combined my skills and interests in the business world the value-driven career I had been searching for.
What sustainability challenge would you most like to solve?
At the moment, I’d really like to work on responsible consumption and production of products and services. The amount of trash circulating throughout our landfills, oceans, cities, and towns its utterly mind-boggling and disheartening. I’d like to preserve the beauty of Mother Earth for as long as possible by implementing more sustainable consumption and production methods. Such as using recycled fiber bags instead of plastic, reducing and reusing materials in various supply chain processes, and disposing of waste in proper facilities (recycling, composting, etc.). This is something that every person can help out with, just by being a responsible consumer.
What is your dream career, and how would you like to make sustainability a part of your day-to-day work?
My dream career is to be a Chief Sustainability Officer for a Fortune 500 company. It would be so rewarding to be the head of sustainability operations for a company, let alone an industry leader with a great deal of brand recognition.
What leader(s) do you admire for their commitment to improving sustainability or championing positive change?
A leader that I admire for his commitment to sustainability is Jaden Smith. He recently created a company known as JUST water, a responsibly sourced water bottle company. Americans alone dispose of 29 billion water bottles a year and most of it ends up circulating in our oceans and landfills. JUST water combats this problem by exclusively using paper-based bottles and plant-based caps. It’s inspiring to see someone the same age as me doing so much for the sustainability movement and he makes me want to join the fight.
What’s your advice for fellow students who might be interested in sustainability, but don’t know where to start?
My best advice is that it is never too late to get your feet wet! You can start by doing some research online or taking an introductory course related to sustainability so that you can get a feel for what it’s all about. NC State is a great resource and there are tons of professors, student clubs, and organizations that you can get involved with in order to learn more. In addition, I’m always more than happy to chat and answer any questions you may have!