ASG president wins national scholarship for environment, sustainability work


Daily file photo by Allie Goulding

ASG president Christina Cilento speaks at Senate earlier this year. Cilento was announced as a Luce scholarship recipient and recognized for her work in sustainability and climate change.

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government president Christina Cilento became the 18th Northwestern student to win the national collegiate Luce scholarship, in recognition for her work surrounding climate change.

The SESP senior — who is minoring in environmental policy and culture — is one of 18 students named in the 2017-18 class of Luce Scholars. The Luce Scholars Program, launched by the non-profit philanthropy Henry Luce Foundation, is devoted to enhancing its recipients understanding of Asia.

After graduation, Cilento will spend a year learning about climate change in Asia. Although she does not yet know where she will be placed, she hopes to learn about various issues, she said.

“My long term goals are to focus on drivers of climate change in Asia, including deforestation and global energy policy,” Cilento said. “I ultimately want to take that back here and use whatever I learn there to form policy conversations in the U.S.”

Before her term as ASG president, Cilento served as vice president for sustainability during the 2015-16 academic year. Last Winter Quarter she was presented a campus life award from the Office of Student Engagement for her range of involvement in sustainability issues, including her work with the Office of Sustainability, membership in Fossil Free NU and advocacy for sustainable events within student groups.

ASG executive vice president Macs Vinson said Cilento’s passion has played a huge role in effecting positive change both in ASG and throughout campus.

“Christina is one of the most amazing leaders I have ever worked with,” Vinson said. “You can see her ability to inspire. … You can see her dedication in all her involvement.”

ASG vice president for sustainability Anand Lal-Tabak, who served under Cilento on the sustainability committee last year, said Cilento has continued to be “incredibly motivating” throughout his work with her. She is connected throughout the University on a wide range of environmental changes and issues, he said.

“She’s just been a really good resource in connecting me … with the people that I need to work with,” Lal-Tabak said. “She’s been involved in an incredible amount of different parts of the sustainability world here.”

He added that he remembers her as a “driving force” behind the sustainability committee’s work with professors and academic departments to initiate dialogue about environmental course offerings. Last week, ASG Senate passed a resolution calling upon the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to establish interdisciplinary requirements that would provide more courses with an emphasis on the environment.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @yvonneekimm