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Supporting and Empowering Others to Grow

Castalia is an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, and is already dedicated to sustainability, and to ethical globalization and community building. We got the chance to interview this incredibly impressive future leader in this week's blog. You just have to learn more about her story below! Happy reading.

This month's theme is all about sustainability. Tell us your approach to the concept, and how you work to integrate sustainability in your work and life.

I view sustainability as the process of becoming more mindful. I have my dad to thank for gently nudging me to be more introspective about my consumption. As I got older, he would encourage me to think about where and how things got in my hands, and where they would end up after I used them. I slowly put more thought into each product’s journey, deciding I rarely ever need two day shipping, looking for local farms at my grocery store, keeping reusable bags in my car, etc. Everyone’s approach to sustainability is different; I embrace the process. I like to remind people to start small, appreciating the small changes (they’re wins, after all!). We’re creatures of habit—incorporating sustainability in our lives means realizing, reflecting on, and changing everyday habits to ones that prioritize our personal health and of our planet and its people.

At OutGrowth, we are committed to supporting the sustainable growth of future leaders and businesses. What do you think we as individuals and communities can do to support others to grow beyond traditional limits?

I encourage my friends and family to shop small and local as much as possible. Supporting and empowering others to grow starts by considering where we spend our money. We tend to forget how much power we hold as consumers; supporting local businesses not only empowers individuals in our communities; but buying a product at local business may also impose less strain on the environment as it gets to you. Although shopping from large corporations is extremely convenient, supporting small and local businesses goes a long way in community-building and can help incorporate sustainable and ethical habits.

Tell us about your most significant professional moment to date.

I took a course on Life Design that changed my life. Replacing a traditional career center, the Life Design Lab at Johns Hopkins encourages students to reflect on their experiences, values, and passions to pursue their life’s purpose. Through sustainability, I became more conscious about each of my choices and motivations, designing my courses, internships, and research to align with my passions.

How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?

The Life Design Lab at Hopkins continues to support me in pursuing experiences that excite me and encourage my growth— I can’t thank them enough.

What is a step that each of us can take today to build a more sustainable life?

Becoming mindful about our everyday choices goes a long way in building a more sustainable life, not only encouraging less overall consumption but also practicing more sustainable habits.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Having recently turned twenty (with increasing choices to make!), I’d nudge my younger self to take more moments to reflect on my values and motivations.

What is your favorite quote or song lyric?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Ghandi is engraved on a necklace I’ve worn for years.

Based on your experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe contribute to carving out a sustainable life path?

Patience, mindfulness, and appreciating the little steps

What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2021?

I’m excited to continue developing a sustainable fashion brand, Taara Projects, I help run with my best friends. With the help of Life Design at Hopkins, I’m also devoting my summer to developing a resource to engage my peers in exploring Baltimore. I hope to establish a more meaningful connection between the Hopkins community and Charm City. I’ll also be a summer research assistant for Inheritance Baltimore under the Johns Hopkins Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship, casting a light on the academic legacies of white supremacy.

Castalia Vidaurri is an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University studying International Studies and Sociology in the Global Social Change and Development Program. She is passionate about ethical globalization, international development, and community-building.


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