Determined to fight climate change, Earth & Environment grad is all business

Determined to fight climate change, Earth & Environment grad is all business

Gupta seeks a career fighting climate change from the corporate side.

Aarushi Gupta has modest plans after Commencement. She wants to save the planet.

Not by herself, mind you, but with the knowledge and skills she’s developed as an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major through Rowan University’s School of Earth & Environment, Gupta seeks to help limit the effects of climate change and will likely do so from within corporate America.

Enrolled in an innovative 4+1 program, Gupta, who carried a 3.99 GPA heading into her final undergraduate semester, will stay at Rowan to earn a Rohrer College of Business MBA in 2023-24.

In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree, Gupta this spring will receive a minor in Planning and a Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in GIS (Geographic Information Science), which trains students in web-based mapping, the emerging field of geodesign and related skills.

An intern with the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies “Green Team” last summer, Gupta is president of the Rowan Environmental Action League and Secretary of the campus GEOClub. She’s also a passionate rollerblader who’s known for zipping across campus on eight wheels.

Gupta, who has already begun graduate business studies, said she considered working in urban agriculture and has not ruled out a career in academia. But, considering the influence big corporations have, she believes her greatest impact might be approaching the existential threat of climate change from the business side.

“I don’t think companies necessarily want to save the world, but many realize it’s no longer feasible to maintain their current business practices,” she said. “Business, by definition, seeks profit, and that’s OK. When there are people within an organization who have the moral framing of wanting to help, they can make a difference slowing down climate change.”

Unfortunately, she said, some companies engage in “greenwashing,” exaggerating their environmental record for the sake of marketing, but Gupta believes that armed with her undergraduate education, she’d be a strong advocate against such messaging from the inside.

Besides, she said, because many young consumers are keenly focused on the threat climate change poses, genuine climate action and marketing that promotes it is better for the corporate bottom line.

“There’s real anxiety among young people about the environment,” Gupta said. “They see the wildfires, the floods, the hurricanes, and it hurts to see it.”

While some global temperature swings are normal, most scientists believe that the severe climate change now underway, and the havoc it’s wreaking on the loss of plants, animals and weather patterns, is directly related to the vast amounts of carbon and other emissions that have been released into the environment since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

“My friends discuss what the future will look like, if future generations will be able to see the things we’ve seen in our lifetime,” she said. “Will we have clean air? Will we have clean water to drink?”

Gupta said aside from pursuing a career fighting climate change as she is, there’s lots that people can do to help limit its effects, from using green energy to eating vegetarian.

“Overconsumption is the easiest thing we can target,” the Marlton resident said. “For example, if you need a product, maybe you don’t need to buy it new.”

Every spring, Rowan University highlights one graduate from each school and college. Read more stories about this year’s featured graduates.