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Sustainability Management Student Receives Social Justice Mini-Grant

Kristen Dillard, a Sustainability Management student at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS) in partnership with the Climate School, was recently named one of 12 recipients of the annual Social Justice Mini-Grant.

Provided by the Office of University Life in partnership with the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, the grant provides funding, mentorship, and logistical support for student projects that address social injustice issues such as racial, economic, and accessibility inequities.

Dillard’s project, “GreenCoast: Uniting Sustainability and Environmental Justice from East to West,” is a podcast that raises awareness and advocates for sustainability and environmental justice on both coasts of the U.S.

In an interview with SPS, Dillard said that the podcast will feature discussions with advocates across various industries who have contributed to the sustainability and environmental justice movements. The podcast will dive into topics such as urban farming, sustainable education initiatives, and the impact of toxins in beauty products on the environment.

“I am deeply passionate about uniting environmental issues on both the East and West Coasts,” Dillard said. “Through GreenCoast, I aim to bridge the gap and make a lasting impact. I aim to bring people together, share knowledge, and inspire action for a more fair and sustainable world. I believe that connecting communities and sharing stories can create positive change for both coasts.”

Dillard shared that she plans to use the mini-grant to acquire podcast production tools and enhance her podcasting skills.

Dillard holds a bachelor's in Sociology and Environmental Science from Barnard College. She also founded the hair care business EarthCurl Organics, which aims to encourage natural hair growth, strength, and moisture through organic ingredients, sustainable practices, and teachings. Dillard aims to broaden accessibility to environmental education and activism, especially for people of color.

About the Sustainability Management Program

The Columbia University M.S. in Sustainability Management program, offered by the School of Professional Studies in partnership with the Climate School, provides students cutting-edge policy and management tools they can use to help public and private organizations and governments address environmental impacts and risks, pollution control, and remediation to achieve sustainability. The program is customized for working professionals and is offered as both a full- and a part-time course of study.