Student trades geology for sustainability



cimarriottweb

Senior Hannah Marriott is an intern with the Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department. Marriott is studying ways to convince people to make changes to help the environment. Rachel Meert and Rachel Meert

IU senior Hannah Marriott is the kind of person who hunts around for cans to recycle at parties.

She takes five-minute showers, makes her roommates recycle and once took on a home-composting project that ended up failing.

After completing half of a geology degree, Marriott dropped it to pursue a degree in environmental management within the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

That led her to an internship with the Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department, where she works with the Bloomington Farmers’ Market and the city’s community gardens.

“I’m definitely very happy with my decision,” she said.

The senior traded indoor lab work and hard science for policy and sustainability, and she said she feels more fulfilled.

Marriott is now getting better grades and taking classes that make more sense to her.

Before beginning her junior year of college, Marriott decided she was finished with rocks.

Geology didn’t quite click with her. She went to an advisor who told her it would be tough to graduate on time if she switched, but, after a summer beefed up with classes, Marriott is on track to finish school this coming May.

“Now that it’s all taken care of, it feels good,” she said.

Among her topics of study is the best way to convince people to make the changes necessary to benefit the environment.

“You can’t be like a Bible thumper and preach to people,” she said. “You have to put it into perspective.”

Marriott said she’s always been passionate about the environment.

She said she doesn’t like staying inside, and she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.

Growing up, Marriott and her sister spent time in a garden her mother had planted.

“We always helped her out with basic stuff like flowers,” she said. “She tried to grow stuff but we would sometimes destroy it.”

Now Marriott’s job is just the opposite.

A portion of her internship hours are spent at the three different community gardens owned by the city, where she leads volunteer groups in the summer and helps with upkeep.

She also has office hours working with Bloomington Farmer’s Market manager Marcia Veldman and market master Robin Hobson.

During these office hours she does “odds and ends things” like writing descriptions for upcoming gardening classes or doing 
computer work.

The more active part of the job comes on market days.

Marriott gets up early every Saturday to assist with setting up for the Farmers’ Market which is held in Showers’ Commons, the parking lot outside of City Hall.

She spends those mornings in various ways — sometimes she works in the atrium of the City Hall Showers Building redeeming food stamps as a part of the city’s program in which food stamps can be exchanged for “market bucks.”

Farmers’ market shoppers can double the value of their food stamp purchases through the program.

Marriott also spends time sitting in at the city’s farmers’ market booth answering questions. She stays until the end of the market to do teardown.

“The market is more exciting,” Marriott said. “The one (in Bloomington) is fantastic ... I like the 
atmosphere.”

Marriott said she still remembers her first visit to the market about two years ago during her sophomore year.

She said it far surpassed the one back home in 
Munster, Indiana.

“I didn’t expect it to be as big or have as much of a variety as there was,” she said. “There were so many people ... it was almost 
overwhelming.”

As she looks forward to graduation, Marriott isn’t completely sure what she wants to do.

Whatever it is, she said it will include looking after the earth.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More



Comments powered by Disqus