Udall Scholar promoting sustainability on campus and in apparel industry

Diane Sparks, Nogal Seidemann, Terry Yan and Mary Swanson

Mary Swanson, associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry (far right), joins Department of Design and Merchandising Professor Diane Sparks (far left), student Nogah Seidemann and Associate Professor Terry Yan to celebrate Seidemann’s selection as a Udall Scholar.

Nogah Seidemann’s passion for environmental sustainability has led her to such diverse activities as exploring alternative apparel design, advocating for Fair Trade t-shirts and encouraging composting at the new Colorado State University stadium. Her passion has also earned her an impressive recognition – Seidemann is the only student at Colorado State University this year to be named a prestigious Udall Scholar.

Seidemann is one of 50 Udall Scholars from 42 colleges and universities in 31 U.S. states and Guam. Of the 437 applicants from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, 50 were named Udall Scholars and 50 were named Honorable Mentions.

As part of her award, Seidemann will receive a $7,000 scholarship for her education at CSU, as well as a chance to travel to Tucson, Arizona, in August to meet the other Udall Scholars.

Seidemann is a junior majoring in apparel and merchandising with a concentration in apparel design and production and a minor in environmental affairs. Manufacturing practices in the textile and apparel industry are extremely damaging to the environment, something she hopes to influence by working in the industry to promote creative design focused on craftsmanship and zero-waste techniques.

“Nogah is consistently deeply committed to the ideals of conscientious environmental sustainability practices in the apparel industry, particularly where it applies to water sustainability and re-use,” said Diane Sparks, professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising.

As a CSU student, Nogah has put her talents to work in multiple leadership roles on campus. She was an Eco Leader in Braiden Hall her freshman year, working to engage first-year students in sustainability initiatives. Combining her major in apparel and merchandising with her passion for the environment, she also engaged in an independent project to encourage several campus programs to purchase Fair Trade t-shirts.

‘Incredibly engaged’

Nogah Seidemann in Gustafson Gallery
Nogah Seidemann with her work on display in the Gustafson Gallery.

“Nogah has become an incredibly engaged student who often goes above and beyond to ask questions, seek answers and get involved with sustainability initiatives,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications and sustainability for CSU’s Housing & Dining Services. “Thanks in large part to Nogah’s t-shirt project, her advocacy in ASCSU and her personal passion, in 2016, CSU became the first Fair Trade Certified University in Colorado and one of only a handful nationwide.”

As a follow-up to her Eco Leader role in Braiden, Seidemann was asked to help launch an Eco Leaders program at Aggie Village apartments on campus. She worked in a team of four to implement the pilot program, which turned out to be a huge success. Seidemann also served in ASCSU as the deputy director for environmental affairs her sophomore year.

This past fall, Seidemann took on the role of coordinator for the Zero Waste Team, a student-led effort to initiate a complex composting program in the new stadium aimed at waste reduction. After dedicating over 600 hours, the Zero Waste team, with the participation of 125 volunteers, diverted 1,733 lbs. of waste from the stadium to be composted at CSU’s own composting facility.

Seidemann is passionate about educating consumers on the production and impact of their clothing. “The apparel industry truly needs professionals like Nogah Seidemann, who embody the commitment to safe and sustainable practices that will preserve the environment. The Udall Scholar award will help her further her studies as an advocate for sustainability,” said Sparks.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

Honorable Mentions

CSU also has three students named as Honorable Mentions in the Udall Scholars competition.

Tamera Breidenbach
Tamera Breidenbach is an ecosystem science and sustainability major, with a minor in sustainable water. Her passions and interests include water law and policy, and social and environmental justice. She is a member and historian for the Warner College Council, a Senator for Warner College of Natural Resources in ASCSU, an inductee of Xi Sigma Pi, and a student hourly in the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative. She is also an ESS S-STEM Fellowship recipient for the Warner College.

Raven Pinto
Raven Pinto is from Twin Lakes, New Mexico, and a member of the Navajo Nation. A political science major and legal studies minor, she strives to build safe, sustainable communities and improve infrastructure on Native American reservations. She volunteers as a counselor at Camp Dunamis, a summer camp focused on racial reconciliation; serves as a diversity senator for the Native American Cultural Center on campus; and conducts research on traditional food systems and agriculture. During the 2018-19 academic year, she will serve as a resident assistant for AV Honors.

Catrin Sunstone
Cat Sunstone is a NOAA Hollings Scholar and a Truman Scholarship finalist as well as a Udall Scholarship Honorable Mention. She is passionate about natural resources, social justice and how the two intersect. Sunstone is majoring in human dimensions of natural resources. Prior to arriving in Colorado, she lived her entire life near the Pacific Ocean and feels a deep desire to protect our coastal and marine resources. As such, she is a founding officer of the CSU chapter of the Inland Oceans Coalition where she works to bring awareness of marine issues to her landlocked community. She is the first undergraduate student representative invited to join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in her major’s department.

About the Udall Foundation

Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and Tribal public policy. The foundation also provides funding to the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy to conduct policy research and outreach on the environment and related themes and to the Native Nations Institute for research, education and outreach on Native American and Alaska Native health care issues and Tribal public policy issues.  Lastly, the foundation provides assessment, mediation, training and other related services through the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.