Student spotlight: Shrut Kirti Chawla

To highlight some of Project Cities' star students, PC staff sat down to interview Shrut Kirti Chawla, a recent master’s graduate from The Polytechnic School Environmental and Resource Management program! With a background in biotechnology, Shrut enrolled in the ERM program to pursue her passion for environmental health and safety. As a student, Shrut was the Vice President of the Environmental & Resource Management Club at ASU, as well as a Safety in the Built Environment office assistant.

As part of her culminating experience for her master’s, Shrut worked as an independent capstone student with long-time PC faculty Al Brown and Peoria’s Solid Waste Division to research fine glass waste management. During the sorting process with recyclables, small pieces of glass can fall from the conveyor belt and be highly contaminated, making them unfit for recycling. For her research, Shrut researched what other cities in Arizona are doing to manage their glass waste and conducted a cost-benefit analysis and life cycle assessment to inform recommendations for the City of Peoria to consider in their solid waste management planning. This project is part of a larger project portfolio involving sustainability and solid waste, including research on textiles, EPS, and e-waste

The original student content is available on the Project Cities website. Read the full summary report here.

Shrut Kirti Chawla and Al Brown at the Peoria Material Recover Facility, Spring 2022

Question: What does sustainability mean to you? 

Answer: Shrut believes sustainability is about responsible consumption of resources, “We can adopt simple practices in our day to day life, to decrease the burden on our planet…there are small things that I have incorporated in my life so there are small changes that you can adopt.” Her passion for responsible consumption translates to her favorite SDG, Responsible Consumption and Production, “I strongly believe that this can save our planet from overutilization of resources and extreme climate change.”

Question: What are you passionate about? What motivates you to study and work for your interests?

Answer: For Shrut, the ERM program impacted how she thinks about the everyday resources we consume and their impact. Following her passion for environmental safety and health, Shrut is interested in the daily processes that can amount to significant environmental impacts and looks to how she can reduce these impacts in her personal life, “I’m really passionate about creating these small changes in my life, and I want to impact other people's lives in such a way that they can also bring about small but significant changes to leave a beautiful planet for all our future generations.”

Question: Do you have any parting advice for students that are coming into the Project Cities program or ASU students in general?

Answer: “I would recommend that students explore all the resources that ASU has to offer. There are many student groups that they can associate with and develop a strong network, then the program offers training in many careers in the environmental field…it helps build a robust network.” 

Project Cities is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N) and is administered by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and the Sustainable Cities Network. Stay up to date with Project Cities and the Sustainable Cities Network by following us on social media or subscribing to our newsletter