What inspired Emily Hilton (Future Leaders Fund Loran Scholar ’12) during her public policy summer in Jönköping, Sweden was seeing how households had fully embraced new biowaste management practices. “These initiatives did not exist at all when I lived in Sweden five years prior, and now everyone is sorting their compost to produce biogas as fuel. It really showed me that change is possible, and that you just have to keep believing in and fighting for the cause.”
As an intern at the Jönköping County Administrative Board, Emily gathered data on greenhouse gas emissions and prepared a handbook on climate and energy initiatives. When she returned to the University of Calgary in the fall, she started volunteering with the sustainability office. Emily spent the next summer working for a GM BluePlan, an infrastructure-consulting firm in Toronto, where she helped develop a proposal for municipal water distribution system upgrades and worked on various planning projects. The experience motivated her to switch from mechanical to civil engineering.
For her community development summer, Emily assisted with the construction of a control tower at the Maun International Airport in northern Botswana. While there, she learned basic Setswana, volunteered at a centre for vulnerable children and tutored her host family’s neighbour in math. One of the surprises for Emily was seeing the differences between city and village life. “Some people prefer village life because you never have water or electricity shortages. You would always have firewood and water from the river. My host sister enjoyed going down to the river to fetch water because it was a meeting place for women in the village.”
Having completed the summer program, Emily looks forward to her fourth year at U of C. To supporters of the Loran Scholars Foundation, she says: “Thank you for giving me these amazing opportunities to discover and follow my passions.”