Interview with Green Office member Janneke Hillenaar

Study: Industrial Engineering

Age: 22

GO member since: September 2019

Why did you join GO Green Office?

In my personal life I try to make sustainable decisions, which is pretty difficult sometimes. Although you cannot be consistent in everything (since even breathing creates CO2), I believe that as soon as people are aware the impact they have on the environment, they will think more actively about what consequences certain actions have. Within the GO Green Office I hope to raise awareness about sustainability among students and inspire them to step by step choose for sustainable solutions.

What is your function within the team?

Within our team, it is my task to manage the external relations. We are not the only team of students who are driven by sustainability. There are many initiatives and organizations within our university, within Eindhoven and within The Netherlands with the same goal. By working together, we can learn from each other and collaborate on projects and events to reach an audience with is larger and more diverse.

What do you like the most about the work and the team?

I like it a lot to see that so many people are involved in organizations, initiatives and movements with the purpose to raise awareness about our environmental situation and to fight climate change. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” is quite cheesy line, but it would not be a cheesy line if it was not true. The whole crisis about our environment is a really big thing, but if everyone gets scared of the idea of tackling this huge issue, we will not be able to find proper sustainable solutions to improve our situation. It is inspiring to see that there are many people who share this view. This is the word we want to spread!

What would you like to improve on the university with respect to sustainability?

In my ideal world nobody will be able to buy or find any single use plastic on campus. Wait, in my ideal world using single use plastic would be the new smoking: you will never ever use it unless that one time that you are too drunk to remember.

If you can give any advice to your fellow students, what would it be?

In situations in which it is difficult to choose the sustainable alternative, remind yourself why you would do it. But, maybe even more important, if you do not see any suitable alternative, accept it for the moment and be happy with the fact that you were aware of your actions and that you would have chosen the sustainable solution if possible.

What do you do to be more sustainable at a personal level?

Of course, I do not only want to motivate others, I also want to motivate myself. Since over a year now, I am a vegetarian. Furthermore, I use as little single use plastic as possible, by bringing my own bags to the supermarket (also those tiny ones for apples and vegetables) and bringing my own cutlery to the university. I also switched my bank account to a more sustainable bank once I found out that it actually has quite some impact as well. There are so many things you can do: did you know there are even online searching machines that are way more sustainable than for example Google?! The first step is to become aware of it, the second step is to one by one implement those tiny little changes into your own life.

Where do you want to work when you finished your studies?

This September I started my masters Operations Management and Logistics. In the future I hope to work in the non-profit field in order to improve processes within healthcare, global development or education. If I ever end up in a the big corporate world it would be to make business processes more sustainable.

If you could interview anyone on the topic of sustainability, who whould it be?

At this point it would definitely be Greta Thunberg. I would really like to know what it is specifically that drives her. When others give up, she pushes even harder. I do not think I could ever be like her, but I believe that we need some fighters like her to win this ‘battle’.

This interview is part of a series of interviews with GO Green Office members. Don’t forget to check out the other interviews in our blog if you want to learn more about the team!