“I am motivated by the beauty and hope that blooms from the people around me and the ground we stand on.”
Elizabeth Joseph, or Liz, carries a list she created in 5th grade taped to the outside of a folder. This list contains things she would like to accomplish, such as “go…everywhere” and “learn five languages.” It also has occupations she was interested in: traveler, photographer, artist, game show host, and writer. Through her active involvement in the UNH community, Liz has been able to cross many things off her list.
Liz grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. When she started looking at colleges she knew she wanted a different kind of environment, one that was outside a city. When she came to Durham, the first landmark she remembers Wagon Hill Farm and how beautiful she thought it was. As an undeclared first year student she lived in Alexander Hall. Although it was a big transition, she enjoyed her time and met many friends. During her sophomore year, Liz chose to pursue an English major and Philosophy minor. She loves to read and write. She uses her writing to share stories about ecological and social justice.
During her freshman year she also became involved in the Organic Gardening Club through her older brother, Mark, who was also attending UNH. Liz has continued her involvement in this organization throughout her time at UNH. She enjoys doing hands on work outside with her friends. “These people are my age,” she says, “and they’re doing incredible things. It’s very inspiring.” Now in her senior year, Liz is the Vice President and Community Outreach Coordinator. She organizes monthly Durham Community Dinners, which serve around 100 people. In Spring 2007, Liz was awarded with the Community Service Project of the Year. Liz really enjoys these dinners, saying “People need to be nourished, we are hungry in more ways than just physical.” The purpose of these events is to bring the community together; each one is a collective effort. It provides people with a space to talk about sustainability, as all the food is purchased locally, but also to enjoy a good meal and to talk about their day. Some of Liz’s favorite memories are of people talking, sharing their experiences, and laughing. It is her hope that people make connections at these dinners, and take it outside to the Durham and UNH communities.
One of the items on her “5th Grade List” was to be a traveler, Liz feels that there are so many places to go and people to learn from. One of her favorite quotes is “we journey out, so that we might journey in.” by author and naturalist Terry Tempest Williams. Liz has taken advantage of many opportunities at UNH that have enabled her to go to journey new places and learn about herself. The first trip she took was an ABC trip to Omaha, Nebraska to work on a Habitat for Humanity house. It involved physically moving out of her comfort zone, but she found it to be a very positive and educational experience. Liz also went to Honduras through the Alternative Spring Break with the St. Thomas Moore church. She participated in Project Eden, which is a farm to support a local community. It was challenging to see some of the living conditions and intense physical labor; she remembers seeing five year olds carrying water. However, she felt that these people were rich in family and community. “It was hard to witness the extreme poverty, but they had so much joy and faith in each other and God.”
Liz is involved in many activities at UNH. She is a Student Coordinator for UNH-Recycling Everything New/Used (RENU), which collects food and clothing to recycle at the end of the school year. She was also an Energy Captain for the Energy Waste Watch Challenge in the residence halls. In 2007, she received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Before she applied, she didn’t realize that there were opportunities to do more “creative” research that involved writing. Liz’s research focus was to determine what the foundations of living in a community were, and to bring her findings back to UNH. To do her research, Liz lived in two different communities: Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia and New Meadow Run Bruderhof Community in Pennsylvania. She enjoyed both these experiences, and they helped shape her plans after she graduates in May 2008.
In the future, Liz is interested in an apprenticeship on an organic farm. She feels that she has been provided with many opportunities, and wants to give something back and to use her college education for something positive. “I am motivated by the beauty and hope that blooms from the people around me and the ground we stand on. I believe that we have the intellect, insight, and resources to make the transition that these times demand of us.”
2011 - 2012 CYOS Honorees: (left to right) Amy Ma, Michael Vidal, Eliza Mackintosh, Chris Foss, Stacey Hoang, Theresa Lewis, Charlie O'Connor, Katie Lantz, Sunya Yakovleff, Harrison Roakes