"G" Is For Green

Interview with Maria Shurupova, the president of HSE Green.

"G" Is For Green

Have you ever heard about global warming, carbon emissions, water and air pollution? Seems like everybody is aware of these issues, since environmental problems represent a significantly important topic in modern times that appears in media all the time. Because of the fact that the Earth is in terrific danger, the idea of eco activism gains huge popularity worldwide, so more and more people all around the globe tend to follow eco-friendly movement.

Our country is not an exception. What is more, there is an ecological organization called ‘HSE Green’ in our university and we would like to tell you something about it. We asked several questions its’ president, Maria Shurupova, to give you a first-hand experience of it and promote such a valuable enterprise. In this paper, you will also find some simple recommendations on how to help the planet without great efforts every day.

Maria is 21, she studies game design and VR in Moscow campus. She got interested in this field when she was 12 and after meeting the world of Skyrim back then she could not dream of anything else but of video games’ creation. Once she knew about a program of the kind in HSE, she decided to enter it. Now she feels like it was the right choice.

There is no other university like our in terms of the atmosphere. Seems like Vyshka is a unique place because of the internships it offers, organizations and number of talented students it has.

When Maria entered the Faculty of Media and Design she also joined HSE Green. She says that she likes to help social projects via creative approach, while volunteering gives her inspiration, skills and possibilities to deal with her curriculum. Before she became the president of the organization, she had several different positions there.

I was an active member of HSE Green from the beginning and went through all its departments. I was monitoring waste segregation in our campus, organizing events, creating content for our social networks. Then I became the head of HR.

When did you get interested in ecological issues?

My parents have grown me up in accordance with the idea of giving more benefits than harm to the planet. That is why when I moved from Rostov to Moscow, I decided to make my life as beneficial, as possible. I also wanted to meet people with the same goals like mine.

What are the everyday tasks of the main eco-activist of the University?

I do not feel like I am the main eco-activist, to be honest. As the president I have to solve problems with the administration, control deadlines of projects, find grants and useful contacts. That is why there is little space for real activism.

And what is a brief story of HSE Green? I know it is quite an old HSE student organization. Who created it?

Well, the first president is Pavel Musatov, but I do not know exactly who came up with the idea of HSE Green. In 2013, students from the faculty of Business Informatics, where Pavel studied, offered to collect waste paper, so HSE Green was born. A year later, there were 30 people in the organization. In 2016, we reached 80 members. Now there are about 150 of us, and not only we collect waste paper, but realize permanent waste segregation in Moscow campuses and take part in the main HSE events.

Sounds great! Visible progress. As you are a big organization now, do you have partners in other universities or non-scholar organizations?

We are part of Association of Russian Green Universities and always keep in touch with eco-clubs from all around the country. And we are happy to see new friends!

Hope that we will help you to find them. Talking about Moscow campuses, can you name the most eco-friendly one.

It is hard to point out only one, because we receive many great offers from students of different faculties. But, if I had to choose one, I would call the faculty of Social Studies. There are many active members of HSE Green from this faculty.

Now let’s turn to the projects of HSE Green. What are the most successful?

Our most popular and successful project is the system of waste segregation. This project brings money for the next development of the organization and the university. Another project that I like personally is an annual forum Eco-nomics. We realize it with HSE Ecology Institute. The forum allows to understand how to connect your future career with ecology in an entertaining manner.

Yes, I believe that each student from Moscow campuses knows about your program of waste segregation. Talking about promotion could you name the most effective methods of eco-propaganda? In other words, who should cultivate the idea of eco-activism: government, family or activists themselves?

It seems to me that the ‘citizen-state’ bond works most effectively. This is when the public takes an active position, talks about their needs, about their natural rights for a clean country. When at the same time, businesses listen to eco-trends, and the state hears the public demands, adopts successful practices of environmental organizations, controls businesses and production, then the most effective strategy is achieved.

Thank you for a complex answer. Let’s talk about some eco-trends. Are you a vegetarian?

Yes, I am. I stopped consuming meat when I came to Moscow. I do not think it is hard to be a vegetarian now. I often go to cafes, use food deliveries, etc. The more you are on this diet, the more you know about appropriate stores or brands. Being a vegetarian is not expensive at all, what is good for a student.

Can you tell about a company that brings you joy in terms of its’ eco-policy? For example, I know that Adidas produce a certain part of the clothes from recycled materials.

I think IKEA is one of, if not the most environmentally friendly company in Russia. All they do is frankly conscious and environmentally friendly. Eco-friendly tips over the shelves, reusable bags, drop-off points, reducing emissions from food in food courts, batteries instead of disposable batteries, LED lamps really change everyday life, people's lifestyle. What is more, HSE Green organized two tours to IKEA Distribution Center. Therefore, I can say that environmental care is not just marketing for them.

Sorry, I cannot help but ask you a question about Greta. What do you think about her?

Her approach and her claims are not very close to me. But I disapprove the derogatory attitude towards her. Especially from adults who have not come up with anything better than blaming a 15 year old girl. That is why I support her and consider her contribution important.

That sounds reasonable. And what about your future contribution? I mean are you going to be an eco-activist after graduation?

Of course, there are habits like responsible attitude to shopping or waste segregation that have already entered my life very tightly and I hope to never get rid of them. But hardly will I be a member of some environmental organization.

Finally, could you tell us a little more about your eco-habits that you follow on the everyday basis? I believe they will help our readers care about the Earth without any efforts.

My set of eco-habits is very common: own bags for shopping, eco cup, saving water and so on. But it seems to me that the most important thing that unites all the habits is constantly asking yourself one simple question: Is it a necessity or an overconsumption? The key is awareness of your actions.

We thank Maria for the conversation and wish her and HSE Green the best of luck in their company of saving our planet. We also hope this material will help you realize the importance of being eco-friendly and inspire you to do so. As you see it is not that hard. So, be beneficial!

Inteview by
George Kolysh