“I think it’s important to be involved in my community because it’s just that – my community – and therefore it’s my job to try and better it as much as possible to make sure it stays as wonderful,” says Laurie James Gundlach, an environmentalist at heart.
At the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Gundlach is the leader of the environmental club and a student council representative, and spends time outside of school volunteering with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Green Light New Orleans, a local nonprofit that exchanges New Orleans residents’ light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
Gundlach volunteered planting cypress trees in Jean Lafitte National Park with her peers. She was excited because a large number of younger people came to volunteer to plant the trees. “The turnout was spectacular, and it was really rewarding to see people that don’t normally get down and dirty get involved. Overall, the day was extremely successful because we reached our planting goals and also had a ton of fun,” says Gundlach.
“I have really taken a leadership role in promoting the events at my school and have tried to show enthusiasm when trying to appeal to my peers,” she says. She never had a leadership position before becoming involved both at Sacred Heart and within her community. Through these volunteer experiences, she gained experience in scheduling and planning events. The different organizations have also taught her to volunteer in something that interests her.
Johanna Gundlach, her sister, has inspired her to become an activist. When Johanna was a student, she was also the leader of the environmental club and helped introduce Green Light New Orleans to Sacred Heart. Now that Johanna is in college, she still volunteers for projects and organizations that are meaningful to her.
Gundlach was recently honored with the Dean’s Award for her work in lean with Sacred Heart’s Goal 3, a social awareness that impels to action. Her positive presence and maturity both inside and outside of the classroom earned her this prestigious award. She doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do after she graduates college, but she’s considering studying computer engineering and wants to find a job that incorporates being green.