The UNCW Sustainability Peer Educators recognize the egregious presence of racial inequality in America and on UNCW’s campus. We stand with black students and emphasize their worth and importance in our society and student body. UNCW Sustainability’s three-pronged purpose – sustaining people, planet, and profit – cannot be achieved without tackling the systemic obstructions which endanger the safety and well-being of the first “P” - people. We feel that it is important to continually listen, learn, and amplify the voices of BIPOC students and leaders so that we may play a role in furthering efforts towards environmental and racial justice. 

Below is our commitment to active change.  

UNCW Sustainability pledges to:  

  • Include diversity training in new and returning student employee training sessions
  • Collaborate with minority student groups in order to amplify their voices and fight for social justice 
  • Promote Sustainability Minor, which includes courses on social and environmental justice 
  • Make prominent connections to social equity at SustainDub events

Meet the Current Peer Educators

MAIYA BAUM - Lead Peer Educator & Housing Liaison


I am a senior studying Marine Biology and Environmental Science with a minor in International Studies. I have always been drawn to the sciences and along the way found a passion for the coast, so leaving New York and coming to UNCW was a natural transition. Coming into college I knew I wanted to find more ways to get involved in the community in a way that would benefit not only UNCW, but the world beyond our campus, and Sustainability Peer Educators has enabled me to do just that. As a Peer Educator I want to spread knowledge of sustainable practices and hopefully encourage students to learn how to make their own lives sustainable both in and out of college. Being a part of Sustaindub has brought me countless opportunities and I hope to be able to share my passion with others. 


EMMA COWEN - Sorority and Fraternity Liaison


As a French and International Studies major, sustainability may seem like it wouldn’t be my area of expertise. If there is one thing I hope to convey throughout my time as a Sustainability Peer Educator, it is that sustainability is for everyone. I strive to work with as much passion as the great Leslie Knope. I work every day to embody her famous affirmation, “if I seem too passionate, it's because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it’s because things aren’t moving fast enough.” It does’t matter if you are the epitome of environmental activism or if, on the other hand, you may not have the means to do everything it takes to live up to society’s misconstrued definition of “being sustainable”. Remember, you don’t have to be doing everything, to be doing something. The only defining characteristic, in my eyes, of being sustainable is that you possess the passion required to make a change that will impact both yourself and others in a positive way.  


AVERY OWEN - Social Media Lead & Waste Diversion Liaison

I am a senior Conservational Environmental Science major with a minor in Geospatial Technologies. I grew up in Seagrove, NC, a little pottery town that gave me an appreciation for the natural resources humans use in everyday life. I have always been interested in the proper conservation of those resources, and I strive to someday work in sustainable management for the US Forest Service. As a Peer Educator, my goals include strengthening community awareness of campus waste management, creating educational videos / graphics / maps, and empowering and equipping students with tools they need to reduce their personal waste through low-waste swaps and composting.


ANNIE O'NEILL - Diversity and Equity Liaison


I am a junior studying English Secondary Education and Spanish. I have always been passionate about advocating for sustainable living. As a Peer Educator, I've learned about the equal importance of all aspects of Sustainability. I have significantly grown and expanded my knowledge and have developed a great passion for Social Equality and Environmental Justice. I hope to continue sharing what I've learned with my peers and the rest of the UNCW community. One of my goals is to educate others on the importance of each of the three legs of Sustainability. My greatest hope is that through this, I will contribute to building a world where all people have equal and available access to clean resources. I am honored to have this incredible opportunity!


JAKE BERGEN - Dining Liaison


I am a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science with a Concentration in Conservation. I have always loved nature and being outside; as I have grown up, I began noticing how wasteful our society is and knew I needed to make some changes to my life. Slowly, I have been transitioning to a less wasteful lifestyle, while also encouraging others to do so as well. This year I will be working as a dining liaison on campus. With that, I am going to be focusing a lot on the waste we produce in the dining industry. I am beginning my own compost bin in my apartment with the hopes of teaching and encouraging others to do so as well, as food waste is extremely prevalent in our society. 


JORDAN "JP" PILCHER - Waste Diversion Liaison


Currently, I am pursuing a double major in marine biology and oceanography with the hope of learning more about marine environments in order to protect them for ourselves and for future generations. I grew up in a small coastal town in North Carolina, where I gained an appreciation for the value of marine ecosystems both economically and ecologically. This appreciation lead me to become passionate about environmentalism and sustainable living. Sustainability is the means by which we can accomplish a balanced life between humans and the natural environment. Our prosperity in the future is entirely dependent on our ability to preserve our natural resources and foster a society in which everyone has access to the resources they need. A large threat to our planet today is a lack of knowledge about the damage we are causing, or a lack of understanding of ways to make a difference. As a Peer Mentor, I hope to spread as much information as I can about what sustainability means for us as members of the UNCW community and how we can work to become more sustainable in our everyday lives.  


Peers who have graduated...Where are they now?



I have always been passionate about sustainability and looking for solutions to work for a sustainable future, so becoming a sustainable peer educator here at UNCW fits right up my ally. Growing up in the suburbs of DC made me realize how much needs to be done to have a sustainable future, and that's what I hope to start to accomplish in this program. Being a student-athlete as well as being involved in multiple clubs here (SurfRider, Plastic Ocean Project, and SAAC) have led me to this opportunity. Working with others that have the same passion as me to educate others on sustainability is what I hope this program is going to be all about, and I'm extremely excited to start it off for the first time ever.


I have been a passionate environmentalist for as long as I can remember. I spent much of my childhood exploring the outdoors and observing nature. It didn't take long for me to understand why it is important to care for the environment. Over the years, I have developed a more sustainable lifestyle by reducing the amount of plastic I use, cutting out meat and dairy from my diet, volunteering for beach clean-ups, and much more. Being a Sustainable Steward allows me to share the reasons behind my passion and sustainable lifestyle in hopes of encouraging others to hold similar beliefs.