Institute for Sustainable Development

Our Sustainable Future - CSU, Chico

Meet The Associated Students Sustainability Coordinator

Amy Miller Focuses on A.S. Sustainability Goals

Last year, Amy Miller and her husband, Jeremy, undertook what they called the trip of discovery, traveling the country to visit friends and family but also "in search of home, community, and sense of place."

As part of this search, the Millers made a point of visiting co-housing and other "intentional communities," including Chico's own Valley Oaks Village. That's how they discovered Chico—and how Chico ended up at the top of their list of ideal places to live and work.

The opportunity to move to Chico came this fall, when Amy Miller was hired as the new sustainability coordinator for the Associated Students at CSU, Chico. Oct. 9 was her first day on the job.

In her new position, Miller provides expertise and support for the AS to meet its sustainability and environmental stewardship goals. She will focus on identifying best practices of sustainability within the Associated Students, particularly in the retail businesses (Food Service and Bookstore). Miller will also conduct a corporate-wide assessment and recommend policy and organizational changes needed to advance the sustainability initiatives of the AS.

Miller is particularly enthusiastic about working with students. "You can get so much creative, out-of-the-box thinking from students," she says.

Originally from the Maryland suburbs outside Washington, D.C., Amy Miller earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, having created a special major called environmental science. That accomplishment, and her thesis "The Deep Meaning of Agriculture," were encouraged by her professor and mentor, Noel Perrin. Her passionate environmental bent was also inspired by time spent as a farm intern at Maine's Chewonki Foundation, where the mission is, "fostering an appreciation for the natural world, and for working in community with others."

"Chewonki was my introduction to a whole new way of life," Miller explains. "Until then I didn't realize that being connected to the earth could be an everyday part of life."

After college she spent two years working as an apprentice on organic farms, including the Whistling Duck Farm in Oregon and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Colorado. She also participated in Bike-Aid during the summer of 1996, riding her bike cross-country to raise money for global sustainability.

After her Bike-Aid trip, Miller moved to California, where she studied holistic health and massage therapy. She also enrolled in the Technical Writing and Communications certification program at San Jose State, and one of the classes required her to do a "real-life project." Miller enthusiastically chose the City of San Jose's huge Community Gardening Program, which was then comprised of 17 individual gardens with about 2,000 gardener participants.

More recently she served as associate director for the Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford University, which fosters social entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary projects that address real needs in underserved communities of developing countries.

Supporting sustainability, however, has always been close to her own core mission in life, so Amy Miller starts her new job with great enthusiasm.

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"Until [I worked at Chewonki] I didn't realize that being connected to the earth could be an everyday part of life."

— Amy Miller