Green Gator of the Month: Mayssa Shalhoub
Each month, the Office of Sustainability will feature members of the University of Florida community who are making a sustainable impact on a daily basis. Keep reading to meet our featured student for September.
Meet Mayssa Shalhoub
Mayssa grew up in Vero Beach, FL but is originally from Lebanon! She is currently taking a gap semester and will be continuing her academic journey in a Master’s program starting in the spring.
Sustainable Food Systems
As a Gator, Mayssa was highly involved in the Food Recovery Network and #UNLITTER. In fact, Mayssa was president of the Food Recovery Network during her final year at UF.
She assisted the student organization in building a relationship with UF’s new food service dining partner, Chartwells. Through this partnership, the Food Recovery Network was able to salvage around 1,500 pounds of leftover food from UF dining halls to feed hungry people in Gainesville. All leftover food was collected and donated twice a week to Grace Marketplace.
Mayssa was also the Creative Chair of #UNLITTER and her personal goal was to display how sustainability could be a fun tool for expression. She is incredibly proud of the bottle cap mural of a sunset at Payne’s Prairie that was completed to express an environmental message about unrecyclable plastic.
Mayssa explains, “The mural reminds me how great things can come into fruition when passionate people are striving towards a similar goal.”
Finding The Creativity In Sustainability
Mayssa’s own passion for sustainability is rooted in her deep appreciation of nature and her love for people.
She elaborates, “We are fully capable of coexisting and thriving with all other life on this planet without compromising our own standard of living as long as we reassign value to the right things.”
Mayssa hopes to serve as an example of how living sustainably can allow a person to tap into their personal creativity and connect with their community.
Thus, it makes total sense that Mayssa is interested in the overlap of sustainability and design, specifically in urban areas.
Her dream job? A position that would allow her to improve the resiliency and sustainable design of coastal cities along the Mediterranean.
Mayssa’s Unofficial Guide to Sustainability at UF
Mayssa’s got so much wisdom to share about being a Sustainable Gator! Take a look at her helpful tips to get you through your time as a UF student.
- Fill your plate only with what you are confident you will actually eat!
- Buy produce from local farmer’s markets when you can (and bring a reusable bag!).
- Buy products with the least plastic packaging whenever possible.
- Compost your food scraps and take them to the UF gardens.
“Walk, bike, bus, rollerblade to and fro. Carpool with your friends when you can and make sure the person with the best music taste gets passed the aux cord!”
- Take advantage of Gainesville’s robust thrift scene – Flashbacks and Outreach are great options.
- Swap clothes you no longer want with your friends or attend a clothing swap hosted by UF Thrift Club.
- Join environmental clubs to connect with like-minded people.
- BYOCup when you go out!
- Pick up litter if you see any on campus.
Mayssa explains that each professor she had in the Sustainability Studies program confirmed her passion for solving environmental problems.
Notable professors she recommends include:
- Dr. Terry Harpold
- Dr. Ron Chandler
- Dr. Azza Kamal
- Dr. Stephen Mulkey.
She thinks back to courses taken during the “Zoom era” of the pandemic and how Dr. Harpold and Dr. Mulkey’s courses motivated her to get out of bed and engage with the world around her.
Have Fun With Sustainability At UF
Mayssa’s upbeat perspective on sustainability and its wide applications provides an important reminder that there is fun to be had in sustainable pursuits.
She says, “Being sustainable at UF is actually extremely easy and can be really fun.”
We love to hear it!
Submit your recommendation for a student, faculty, or staff member to be featured in a future Green Gator of the Month article!