PBA Spotlight: Laurie Carpenter, School of Public Health

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Laurie Carpenter is the captain of the School of Public Health’s award-winning Commuter Challenge Team. This year, their team is killing it in the Team Spirit awards (they’ve won prizes in both photo challenges so far)! Check out their team spirit on Get Downtown’s Facebook page. “It’s a lot of fun getting folks from the many departments together for these challenges, and to encourage participation in the Commuter Challenge. We love to contribute positively to the community, and we also love to compete and win prizes, so it’s a win-win.”

Laurie is a dedicated sustainable commuter, rarely driving to work. “I am very committed to being conservative with our resources (energy), and my resources (money).” She enjoys biking and taking the bus. (She would really love to run to and from work, but it’s hard without having showers at the school.) She is proud of her co-workers taking sustainable commuting practices – including the ones who live farther away and take advantage of the expanded AAATA service and/or the Park and Ride lots.

Laurie’s official position at the School of Public Health is a senior research associate at the Center for Managing Chronic Disease (CMCD), evaluating multi-site health promotion programs and researching interventions which help people self-manage their own disease. Among her current work, she is part of a W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded “Food & Community” program which is increasing accessibility to locally grown food and options for physical activity in vulnerable communities.  This program helps develop sustainable communities by creating employment opportunities and increasing supply and demand for healthy foods. “Sustainability to me means living in a way that protects and supports the world we live in,” states Laurie.

As a tip for everyone, Laurie challenges us all to reflect on our consumption patterns. “Take a look at all the energy and resources that go into producing everything we use and consume in our lives…We really can do without much of what we think we need in this culture.” She also hopes to see U-M adopt sustainability policies across campus, and appreciates the recognition available (through Sustainable Workplace and Sustainable Lab programs) to workplaces that currently make the extra effort to be sustainable.