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Melissa Le Geyt (King's) talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Melissa Le Geyt (King's) talks about 4th year


I really appreciated the sense of community the college creates. Not only here at Dal but in the broader Halifax and Nova Scotia communities. It’s contributed hugely to my university experience.

Developing a passion for sustainability

Melissa Le Geyt, originally from Calgary, Alta., decided that International Development Studies (IDS) and Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) were “where the vast majority of my interests ended up falling,” she says. “The things I would get most passionate about fell into those two areas.”

By the end of second year, Melissa had discovered a passion for water issues – in part thanks to the Intro to Sustainability course, where learning about water from a social justice perspective “opened up a whole world.”

She’s still involved in water-related activities. World Water Day coincided with the Dalhousie Student Union’s Green Gala, for which she helped “organize the water fashion show,” Melissa says. She and the other organizers talked about “different clothing and other items, and how much water is required to make them – what’s known as ‘embedded’ or ‘virtual’ water.”

Not unrelated to water is farming, another area Melissa has been exploring in both ESS and IDS. “I love that there’s such a hands-on component to agriculture – you get to dig in the dirt!”

She cites Vandana Shiva’s 2012 visit to Dal as inspiring. Dr. Shiva is a grassroots environmental activist in India who works to promote “sustainable development on a very local scale.”

Melissa did an internship for a few months with a local green energy company, and she’s also looking to explore work in other sectors. In fact, she’s hoping to go “to India to volunteer with Vandana Shiva’s organization, to try working in small-scale sustainable agriculture.”

Working in India, she hopes, will give her “a different approach to problem solving” – she wants to learn from what’s going on there, rather than imposing her ideas of what would work. “I’m definitely aware of how little I know,” she says.

"The experience I was looking for"

One thing she does know is that “[ESS and] the College of Sustainability were the university experience I was looking for. I went into school thinking I’d do science – I wanted to be a vet. Then I realized international development was more where my interests lay, and the college just fit so perfectly with my interests and abilities.”

“I’ve loved ESS – I’m really glad I did it,” she says. “The ESS program bridges all these gaps and allows you to make links with so many different communities. It’s been really excellent.”

And going forward, Melissa says, “I hope to keep my ties to the College. They’re such great people and they’re doing such great things. It’s a great resource to have for the future."