In this monthly Q&A series, we aim to highlight a member of the Princeton community, including students, faculty, and staff, who engages in service. This month, we sat down with Andrew Wu, a sophomore from Michigan planning to major in molecular biology, to talk about his experiences as a leader with the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, a student organization at the Pace Center.
What is your role with the Princeton Student Climate Initiative (PSCI)?
“I'm a research team member and the collaborations chair of PSCI. The former involves delving into environmental legislation and exploring any legal issues while the latter involves working with other organizations on this campus to find new ways to approaching climate change.”
How did you get involved in community service?
“I volunteered in a hospital while I was in high school, which I enjoyed a lot. However, I was also passionate about addressing environmental issues and Princeton offered new opportunities to do so.”
What can you tell me about PSCI?
“We are an organization that is dedicated to helping students make a focused, positive impact on climate change. It's tempting to feel hopeless about our situation and that can take away our sense of agency. By being a flexible team that encourages exploration into any areas, we hope to engage students and allow them to pursue solutions through unique approaches.”
What are some of your proposals to combat climate change?
“We are hoping to help state legislators pass an effective carbon pricing policy in New Jersey. In addition, we have teams working to make our campus more sustainable and creating opportunities to combat climate change through entrepreneurship.”
How do you take an issue like climate change, a problem with a huge scope, and come up with practical ways to engage with it?
“We took a lot of inspiration from the Citizens' Climate Lobby, a non-partisan organization that engages with various communities and leaders to put a price on carbon. While climate change is a very complex problem, our members usually create their own way to engage with it. It usually starts with speaking with experts and community leaders to understand the facets of the issue, then researching the different policies that can mitigate it. Once we've established a solid foundation of knowledge, we're able to further discuss it with state legislatures and politicians. As mentioned before, our team is very flexible, so we have students taking the entrepreneur and sustainability routes.”
What can you tell me about recent activities, like the NJ policy forum?
“For the NJ Climate Policy Stakeholder Form we invited stakeholders from all over the state to discuss what policies could effectively reduce New Jersey's emissions by 2030. [Attendees] included business leaders, legislators, green groups, environmental justice groups, and utility companies, to name a few. The overall goal of the forum was to understand the varying perspectives regarding environmental policy across New Jersey, especially the needs and concerns of the stakeholders. It was very productive and helpful to hear from them and we plan to use that information to help pass a state carbon pricing policy that is conscientious to the needs of communities.” (View PSCI's report on the New Jersey Climate Policy Stakeholder Forum with stakeholder perspectives and recommendations for New Jersey leaders.)
Why do you think Princeton students specifically should be involved with this issue?
“I think that they should be involved in this issue because we are so lucky to be in an institution that has so many resources and experts on climate change. Furthermore, it's important that Princeton sets an example to the broader community that anyone can engage with the issue, considering that it is one of the most significant challenges in our lifetime.”
What can students do to become more involved?
“Please feel free to stop by any of our meetings (7:30PM-8:30PM on Saturdays or 3PM-4PM on Sundays); we're always looking for new members. Also, we have a recruiting event this Saturday from 6:30PM-7:30PM at the Pace Center in Frist, so feel free to stop by and learn about the exciting projects we have!”