Thamires is a junior at Becker College in Leicester, MA, studying Pre-Veterinary Medicine. She has a passion for inspiring others to live a more sustainable lifestyle and strives to make an impact by pushing for more sustainable practices at her college and in any future workplace or employment she may have. She was the President of her ACE Action Team in high school, and is now the co-founder of Project HOME (Helping Our Mother Earth) at Becker to continue working towards her goal of a greener tomorrow. Her gratitude for ACE and their programming can only be described as "immense" and she continues as an Alumni Ambassador.
If you were to ask the students at Maynard High School what kind of student they thought I would be in college, they would never have guessed that I would become as successful as I am today. Maynard High, a tiny school in the middle of nowhere, has all your typical high school stereotypes, and I was that friendless outspoken student who never really fit into any of them. I never fit the mold of “typical.” I had a drive to do something – anything – that would spark a revolution for a better future. Finally, my sophomore year of high school, I found this amazing organization that put the power of the individual into a reality. An organization through which individuals join together in strength and unity to fight the biggest threat to our future: climate change. That organization was ACE.
After the first time I watched the ACE Assembly, I fell into tears, inspired by the beautiful picture that they painted of our possible future. It had no more gas-powered cars, but instead, green energy, and complete sustainability, all because of the courage of a few individuals with a goal to see a better tomorrow. I completely loved the idea, and quickly brought ACE to my high school again the following year, and attended a climate leadership training. It was the first time – now out of MANY – that I saw myself as a “leader.” That friendless outcast in high school was now attending a leadership conference! The idea seemed almost ridiculous to me. I knew I was born to lead, but I had no idea I had what it took. Not only did the training prepare me for college, but it also immediately gave me much needed energy for the projects I wanted to do in high school before I graduated.
My high school class of 2012 was the second to last to graduate from our old and damaged facility. While I was there, the school was planning a new state-of-the-art building to welcome the class of 2014 and beyond. Even though the new school wouldn’t be built during my high school years, I knew we had a responsibility to set the foundation for what sustainability would look like in the new high school. Under my leadership in 2012, the Green Committee implemented a new recycling program in which the National Honor Society volunteered their time to do weekly recycling in exchange for hours. The student volunteers took the burden off of our club and eliminated the need to hassle janitors.
Our club also worked with the town-wide sustainability groups to pitch innovative programs for the new high school. Almost all of them were accepted, including rainwater/AC condensation collection barrels, a beautiful garden location, high efficiency lighting and windows, and a lot more recycling bins. We helped write grants, and sign petitions. By having a strong club, we also showed that making these sustainability decisions for the new school wasn’t just the right thing to do, it was what students wanted. Thanks to our efforts, we won an ACE grant and later, another ACE competition for our “Great Green Locker Cleanout.” Having ACE nearby gave me something no advisor at our high school could ever provide – a network of dedicated individuals that were willing to do anything for us and for our club. ACE was my rock through that senior year, especially when I was so nervous about leading.
Fast forward a couple years: students at Becker College would never imagine that I was ever afraid of being a leader and they can clearly see that I’ve been passionate about the environment for a very long time. I walked into my freshman year knowing I had a duty to myself and to my college to leave it more sustainable and I am doing just that. I co-founded a new organization, Project H.O.M.E., which stands for “Helping Our Mother Earth” and I am already seeing the fruits of my labor. The staff and administration had been waiting for a sustainability club at Becker for a very long time, and they knew I would be the best person to start it. As with any new club, we have had our fair share of challenges, but our hopes are as high as our ambitions. We have hit the ground running, participating and organizing everything from events for Earth Hour to “I Will If You Will” events, to petitions for more sustainable printing in libraries to preventing food waste in the Dining Halls by aiding in the Food Recovery Network. We even have ACE coming for an Assembly in a few weeks (it will be my fourth time seeing it!!). In a school run by vet majors and game designers, collaboration is tough, but I am sure that H.O.M.E. will be one of the most impactful clubs that our school has ever seen and it will continue long after my last days at Becker.
As a veterinary science major, I have always felt a duty to help to help others, not just “human” or “animal” others, but everything others: the trees, the land, the atmosphere, and most importantly, the environment. The Alliance for Climate Education provided me with the knowledge that I am not alone and I can be a leader. I can fight climate change, and I can have an impact as just one person. It will be a fight that I will continue until the world listens and serious changes have been made.
Your generous support for the Alliance for Climate Education creates well-rounded, impactful individuals with a fire for change and leadership that they may have never believed that they had before. The ACE Assembly changes lives, by introducing us to the biggest threat of our generation, and how to solve it, quickly and effectively, in just an hour. It creates students like me, who become so enthralled with the idea of the power of just one person that it gives them the strength to step out of their comfort zone and stand up for climate solutions, undaunted and unafraid.