Yansong Li graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2020 as an Environmental Studies (EVST) major and is currently studying for his master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He plans to enter a Ph.D. program and then join an international academic institution, with the end-goal of joining an international organization, to promote sustainability. While at UConn, Yansong enjoyed expanding upon his previously vague understanding of sustainable societies and economics, leading to a special interest in the Circular Economy, which has become a prominent focus in his subsequent research. He owes his foundation in these concepts to his time at UConn and recommends that current and incoming EVST students participate in study abroad programs that match their environmental interests, talk with students of varying backgrounds within the program to expand their outlooks, try out other courses – such as those in economics (one professor he named is Dr. Emma Bojinova) – to spark other pursuits, and check out the Climate Corps run by Dr. Juliana Barrett and Professor Bruce Hyde.
Yansong believes it is important for students to understand the part that they play in creating a sustainable future. With the knowledge that climate change is caused and exacerbated by humans, many questions remain about solutions. To enact environmental and social change, EVST students must look beyond basic sciences and look at the interdisciplinary nature of the major, whether it be a focus in economics, politics, culture, or something else. UConn allows EVST majors the opportunity to work with other students, professors, community members, and beyond to devise sustainable solutions and work towards making a change.