Liesel Schwarz just might save the world. A sustainability planning and development major at UR, this junior has made great strides to motivate her peers to go green in Rochester.

What are you involved in on campus?

I am co-president of Grassroots. I was Earth Day coordinator last year, and I work for Dining as a student sustainability coordinator. I am also a part of team green and we work to do new sustainable stuff with Dining. We do a lot with local food week to get people to buy local foods and promote composting.

How’d you first become involved in sustainability?
My freshman year, I came with no idea of what I wanted to major in, and so I decided to take an anthropology class. I think at that time it was named Sustainable Development and was filled with a lot of people who were interested in the environment. It was a class of 200 people, so it was really to cool to meet all these people who knew what they were doing and it sounded really interesting so I started going to Grassroots to get more information about it, and it kind of just grew from there.

So when you’re not saving the world, what are you doing?

I hang out with friends. I try to make time for that because it’s increasingly difficult. I destress by doing art, so I like to sew, I like to do henna, I like to knit.

So what’s your favorite item that you’ve sewn, knitted or hennad?
Well, I henna my hand, but I like flowers, different kinds of flowers (that’s so cheesy). It’s traditional Indian design, so they’re odd-looking. I sewed a bag, and one side it has a sun, and on the other side it has an elephant. And scarves are basically what I knit. I haven’t gotten that good at it.

You’re also in charge of the local foods initiative. What’s your favorite food that you bring in?
I like apples. We’re part of Pride in New York, so we bring in apples from around here, but apples at this time of season are amazing, they’re so much better than store-bought. Sweet potatoes, too.

What do you like to cook?
I like to do Indian fusion how I take it is Indian spices with French cuisine. You cook it French-style, but you use Indian spices.
My stepdad is Indian, so I have some influence in that area, but I don’t know enough to do it traditionally. I was brought up more on French cooking.

Favorite book and why?
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife.” It’s a really good book. I liked it because it was romantic without being cheesy. It’s enough fantasy that you know it’s not real, but it’s enough real that you can relate to it.

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