Alumni Spotlight: Rebecca Liebschutz

Emily Canosa
Release Date: 

UMSFP alumni consistently report that Harvest Festival is one of their favorite memories! Be sure to attend the 5th Annual Harvet Festival coming up on Sunday, October 2nd, from 1-4pm at the Campus Farm located at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Read more about the event here, and also on facebook.

Each week this fall, UMSFP will be featuring Q&A with a different alumnus about what they were up to during their time at UM, what they're involved with now, and favorite UMSFP memories. Each of the alumni we're featuring are happy to have current UMSFP students get in touch with them. We hope that these "Alumni Spotlights" will help folks learn about what kinds of opportunities are out there, and get connected!

Our second Alumni Spotlight features Rebecca Liebschutz, who now works at SPROUTS of Water in Kampala, Uganda. Read more about Becca below.

Rebecca Liebschutz

How were you involved with UMSFP?

I was the Relations Coordinator on the UMSFP Leadership team from 2013-2014, as well as a member of Student Food Co., Campus farm, and Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund (PBSIF), which funded several of these projects.

What were you studying at UM, and what year did you complete your studies?

I received a dual degree in Program in the Environment (PitE), and Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) in LSA. I graduated in May 2015.

What did you do after you finished your studies?

From May-August 2015, I worked at MBGNA as a summer intern in Children's Programs, and from September 2015 to now, I've been living in Uganda and working for a social venture called SPOUTS of Water, which manufactures and distributes household-sized ceramic water filters.

If you are working now, please let us know where (workplace name and city) and what do you do there.

SPOUTS of Water- a social venture based in Kampala, Uganda. I work as the sales manager, which involves establishing new partnerships with groups and people that can help to distribute filters in a sustainable manner.

How is food a part of your life now?

Uganda is primarily an agricultural society, and farming is a huge part of life here. I'm constantly thinking about food production and how farming can be done more efficiently and more sustainably here.

Do you think your experiences with UMSFP influenced, inspired, or prepared you for what you do now in any way? If so, let us know how.

Getting involved with UMSFP was a big part of my extracurricular involvement, and helped me to be organized and efficient in establishing partnerships, setting up meetings, and so on. This is essentially what I'm doing now, so this has helped me significantly!

Do you have any favorite or notable UMSFP memories?

The harvest festival was always a blast!

Is there anything else you want to share?

SPOUTS has been a great way to get involved with sustainable development- using business to improve public health and also the environment, since these filters eliminate the need for burning fuel to boil water. SPOUTS has just been chosen as one of the top 9 finalists for the 2016 WAF (Water Air Food) Awards, in which 175 applicants from five continents have submitted inspiring projects that secure water, air and food to communities around the world in response to their open call launched on this year’s Earth Day. The WAFA Selection Committee, composed of recognized development experts, has chosen the top nine applicants that best fulfill the sustainability award criteria.

The public vote is now open to decide the WAFA 2016 winners- only 3 of the nine will be chosen based on popular vote. This would be really important for SPOUTS and is also directly tied to sustainability- all one needs to do is simply go here, and then click "vote" next to "SPOUTS of Water: Clean Water for Everyone". Anyone can vote up to once a day, and can vote everyday until the polling ends.

If you are willing to have UMSFP students contact you with questions about their careers or the work that you do, please enter your contact information below.

Yes! Best way is email-