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Sustainability's Featured Student-Athlete: Shae Holmes

Mar 1, 2022

Shae Holmes is a redshirt junior defender for the women's soccer team and has also competed on the USA U20 National Team. She is currently majoring in Environmental Studies at the University of Washington, with a minor in Global Health, and was on the 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 Academic Honor Rolls. 

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

A: Sustainability to me means environmental practices and habits that allow our generation to keep resources ongoing, for us and for future generations. It's reducing our carbon footprint and doing anything we can to lower our impact on the environment.

Q: What made you decide to choose Environmental Studies as your major?

A: I have a huge passion for the environment and how specifically it affects our health, because my minor is Global Health, so I really liked combining the two of those. I also looked at it from the perspective that I really enjoy promoting it and increasing awareness about it, specifically education and informing others about certain situations and scenarios about how we could be more sustainable and help improve the quality of life in our environment. It was really knowing that I could make a difference in sharing what I knew with just the people around me and hopefully it could just spread. 

Q: As a student athlete, how do you incorporate sustainability in your everyday life?

A: In the locker room, I hold teammates accountable on what people throw in the recycling versus the trash. I get on my teammates about bringing their water bottles to training to fill those up instead of using paper cups. 
Because we are also an outdoor sport, there's so many different issues, and one of them is air pollution. That limits the days where it's healthy to play outside, so it's also asking what can we be doing in those aspects that incorporate the whole umbrella of environmental issues, instead of just recycling.

Q: As an Environmental Studies major and a student athlete, what do you believe your role is in communicating the importance of sustainability?

A: I feel like my role is to use what I have learned since freshman year. My role in education is starting with family and friends, and my second family is my team, and kind of starting a trend of a little bit of promotion here and there. 
I've already shared ideas about not using plastic forks and utensils on trips. Instead we'd have our own and we'd bring them and that already spread throughout our team a little bit. So I think my role, as of right now, is to educate and get as many people behind me and create my own team in a sense, and hopefully it continues and spreads throughout the community.

Q: Do you anticipate that sustainability will play a role in your future career? If so, how or in what way?

A: I think it will play a huge role. I want to play soccer as long as I can first. The ultimate goal is to go abroad and do that, so I want to be able to take what I learned here and then apply it to somewhere abroad, like use Global Health with Environmental Studies, to utilize whatever I can in promotion, whether that's getting an internship in marketing, whether that's doing little internships to learn more about it and do more research on it, and then bring it back to the US. 

Q: Aside from soccer and academics, what other hobbies and interests do you have? Have these interests impacted your passion for sustainability, or vice versa?

A: I love hiking and being outdoors. And I think for me, hiking and just being able to be on trails and going on walks, somewhere where I'm not in a city-based area, that definitely improved my love of wanting to do sustainability, because you see all these beautiful places.

Q: What are you hoping the people who read this feature will take away from it?

A: I'm just hoping that people read it and have it be eye-opening, because not everyone knows as much about it. I hope that people understand that the more you talk about it and have conversations and try to understand it, and I'm hoping that by reading this, they see that anyone can do it. We're athletes and we can do it, and just anybody walking on the street could make a difference in the littlest ways, because just by doing one thing one percent better, it all adds up and builds up in the overall footprint of everybody. So by reading this, I hope it informs people more and gets people excited to be like, "Hey, this is actually pretty simple and we can do this, too."