Sara Platek

Sara Platek.
By far the most valuable part of any Bass Connections experience is the rare opportunity to work with members of the Duke community from a broad range of backgrounds and areas of study.

Degree

Public Policy ’21

By far the most valuable part of any Bass Connections experience is the rare opportunity to work with members of the Duke community from a broad range of backgrounds and areas of study. Entering my third year at Duke and embarking on my first Bass Connections project, I was most excited and motivated by the opportunity to refine my research and communication skills and become a stronger advocate for sustainability at Duke. Although my time working on my project has certainly provided limitless chances to improve my capabilities as an environmental advocate, I have developed the deepest appreciation for the extraordinary opportunity to form genuine connections with students, faculty and staff outside of my major and learn from their unique insights and backgrounds to stimulate effective change on our campus.

As we delve further into our academic careers at Duke, we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people as a circumstance of career-oriented education paths. As a junior majoring in public policy, it is rare that I venture outside of the world of political analysis and policy research to formulate solutions to real-world problems. The more you hone in on your major, the scarcer the opportunities to authentically engage with students and material from different fields of study become. Our scope of education is ultimately sacrificed for expertise.

Being part of a Bass Connections team has rewarded me with the invaluable opportunity to collaborate with a diverse team of passionate students, faculty and staff to address the greatest crises of our time – climate change. My project team members consistently enrich my experience and challenge my way of thinking with a rich variety of new perspectives and problem-solving techniques.

Each team member has played an instrumental role in contributing to the creation of a report that captures the attention of our audience, provides compelling statistics and facts and drives behavioral and structural change regarding energy use. Just among our six student team members, we represent seven different majors and programs, including economics, environmental science, environmental management, psychology, public policy, environmental policy and global health – all of equal importance to ensuring that we generate our most effective product and achieve our goal of developing Duke’s culture of sustainability, increasing building energy efficiency and reaching campus carbon neutrality by 2024.