Betsy Gross ’24 tags trees for her Sustainability Office internship.
Walk around campus on a nice day this summer and you’ll likely see a pair of Hamilton students hammering metal tags onto trees. You might well see them doing it over, and over, and over again. 
Adrian Stefan ’24 tags a tree.
Adrian Stefan ’24 helps tag one of the near-3,000 trees on campus. Photo: Oliver Zhao ’24

As interns for Hamilton’s Sustainability Office, Betsy Gross ’24 and Adrian Stefan ’24 have spent much of the past few weeks ensuring that the near-3,000 trees on campus are appropriately marked and cataloged — a tedious task nonetheless crucial to the College’s strides toward sustainability. Information about each tree’s species, location, and capacity for carbon sequestration is then recorded in a digital program called ArborScope, allowing for public, research, and management use.

While tagging has been their primary responsibility, Gross and Stefan have been busy with other projects as well. Among these are updating the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) page of the College website, meeting with sustainability-connected stakeholders on campus (e.g., facilities management, Parkhurst dining), organizing the annual Cram & Scram residence hall salvage program, and researching a reverse vending machine for Hamilton. Finally, the pair has planted 100 new trees on a plot of land located behind Rogers Glen as part of the SWG’s ongoing reforestation efforts.

Betsy Gross ’24

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Cohasset, Mass.
High School: Hingham High School

Our interns have found their homes working in our forests,” said Director of Environmental Protection, Safety, and Sustainability Brian Hansen. For years, it had been the case that “Hamilton owned all this forested and agricultural land, but we didn’t do anything with it,” he said. “Now, we’re actively trying to do something very strategic and intentional.”

The SWG interns have been central to these initiatives, and Gross and Stefan highlighted the value of their hands-on sustainability work. “A lot of the [environmental studies] coursework I’ve taken has been pretty broad, focusing on large-scale, policy-based issues,” Gross said. It has been gratifying to get involved in more tangible ways, she explained, and have a noticeable impact on her natural surroundings. 

Adrian Stefan ’24

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown:  Nashville, Tenn.
High school: Horizon High School

While the workdays can be tiring, Stefan said, they are rewarding in equal measure. “Driving through campus, we see every single tree, and all of them have been tagged by us,” he said. “It’s cool to see it actually come together.” And their hard work has not gone unnoticed. Hansen stressed just how exceptional the pair has been. “These internships are always rigorous — not because we want to break people, but because we want them to feel ownership over their work,” he said. “They’re doing really good things that we can all be proud of.”

Going forward, Gross and Stefan — both environmental studies majors — plan to continue pursuing sustainability-oriented work at Hamilton and beyond. Gross is considering a career in environmental consulting, while Stefan hopes to enter architecture school. For Hansen and the SWG, there is always more to be done. But even among their “1,000 different priorities,” he said, maintaining the internship program is imperative.

By advancing sustainability projects while developing a new generation of leaders, “we check all the boxes,” Hansen said.

Sustainability at Hamilton

From student and faculty research to green programs and initiatives, Hamiltonians are committed to protecting and sustaining the environment through institutional processes, management of facilities, and curriculum.

Salwa Sidahmed ’23

A Watson Fellow’s Plant-Based Journey to Five Countries

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers participants the chance to explore their “absolute passion.” This mission appealed to Salwa Sidahmed ’23. After graduation, Sidahmed will visit five different countries to follow her passion: plant-based practices and sustainability.

Alexander Hamilton statue with green trees

Hamilton Launches Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy

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