Cat Mizzi – Old Gold & Black

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Cat Mizzi, a 2020 graduate majoring in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) with a minor in Health, Human Services and Theater, is returning to Wake Forest to work as the new communications and events specialist for the Bureau of Sustainability. Her job includes leading communications and marketing, planning events, and assisting student leaders in their sustainability efforts.

What made you want to return to work at Wake Forest?

In many ways, I felt like my time in the Wake Forest was not over. Graduating in 2020 meant my senior year never came to its “traditional” end. And as such, I felt my story in Wake Forest didn’t either. When the opportunity arose to return, I saw it as a way to begin a new chapter. As a student, I spent a lot of time improving the university for all of its students and I saw this opportunity as a chance to continue and expand my work, but in a new environment and with new people.

Why are you passionate about supporting the Office of Sustainability initiatives on campus?

I am passionate about advocating the importance of sustainability on our campus and in our community and as a whole. I think that sometimes there is an intimidating barrier that people perceive when they are having conversations about how to live sustainably or what sustainability looks like, and I hope to overcome this barrier through our events, volunteer opportunities and educational collaborations. Also, I think the main source of my passion for supporting the Office of Sustainability initiatives and the impact on campus comes from my personal passion for ecofeminism.

How is your work in the office for sustainability structured and in relation to your undergraduate major and minor subjects?

The WGSS major promoted a deep understanding of social issues such as systemic racism, economic inequality, and interpersonal and identity-based violence – and the intersections between these disciplines. Both my studies and my professors have helped sharpen my voice as an activist, ally, and intersectional feminist.

I have already started to think critically about my work with the Sustainability Office. I dedicate myself to promoting conversations on campus about ecofeminism and the important interfaces between the sustainability movement and other systemic social issues.

My background in costumes and directing, combined with my minor in theater, has also given me a creative framework to grab the audience’s attention and bring concerns such as environmental protection to the stage. I hope to develop my theater roots and promote the connection between art and sustainability on our campus in the years to come.

Your vantage point has enabled you to see how Wake Forest has evolved over many years. What have you seen on campus in terms of sustainability since your student days?

My thoughts immediately went to Plant Forward and the effort to create sustainable restaurants across campus. Seeing this growth after returning to campus was great.

How will you use your position to further raise environmental awareness and encourage more sustainable behavior in the Wake Forest community?

I plan to have targeted conversations and encourage learning through thoughtful events and communication. Wake Forest is a unique community, and in my experience, encouraging real conversation and an interest in self-growth and learning leads to an immortal change in the community. As we work to weave sustainability into everyday forest life, it becomes an inseparable part of how our community works.

As a communication and event specialist, which sustainability event are you most looking forward to this year?

I look forward to every event I can organize and plan, but I think Earth month 2022 is what I’m looking forward to the most. I love working with campus and community partners, and Earth Month gives me plenty of opportunities to think creatively about event planning and partnerships.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and AP style.