|Andres Perez-Charneco '06|
|Director of Operations for MedWish international.|
Andres Perez-Charneco ’06 majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Writing. Andres’ interest in sustainability began as a child. He grew up in Puerto Rico where, as a small island, one can actually see the limits on resources and space. As an undergrad, Andres was involved all four years with the Ithaca College Environmental Society and Resource and Environmental Management Program. His involvement in ICES and REMP were both useful resources and provided experience, for though everyone there was interested in sustainability and environmentalism, he learned these words and ideas mean different things for different people. This definitely helped with his diplomatic and critical thinking skills, he says.
One memory he has with ICES was having knock down arguments about what to do with the club';s surplus at the end of the year. They considered: ‘should we spend it making signs to identify old growth trees in the woods behind terraces, expand the organic garden, use it for more education and awareness?’ Andres always wanted to aim for the best, and to be clear on what success means, to compromise, because you can’t please everyone. Andres also appreciated the diversity of classes and opportunities we have at Ithaca, as well as Environmental Studies' exposure to many facets of environmental work combined with the need to boil it down to a central core.
After graduating, Andres worked for the National Recycling Coalition as part of their RecycleMania competition, and for the Cleveland Clinic Office for Health Environment (the sustainability department). Currently, he is the Director of Operations for MedWish International. MedWish is a medical surplus recovery organization that collects surplus, un-used medical supplies and minimally used medical equipment, and provides these items as humanitarian aid to over 90 countries. The entire supply chain runs off donations, and some things they can’t send out, such as broken items. MedWish recycles any products they are not able to donate, keeping unwanted materials out of area landfills. For more information on MedWish, visit www.medwish.org.
Andres encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities given by the school and community. Ithaca is an amazing place for environmental/sustainability people; “If there is some new technique that powers your car off coffee grounds, then there is some guy in Ithaca doing it.” Andres encourages students to explore, ask, and check everything out, but make sure you check things out that are outside of Ithaca as well. Andres believes the real way to make sustainability succeed is by bringing it to everyone. Look for alternatives, but also see how sustainability can fit in with the ‘mainstream.’ “ Explore Ithaca (town and college) to its fullest extent and learn, hopefully to love it, but, remember it is a big world out there and that there are people that will disagree. Perhaps you can learn from them.”