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Julia Benevich's avatar

Julia Benevich

capstone fall 22


  • 0 TODAY
  • 346 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    meatless or vegan meals
  • UP TO
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO
    with people
  • UP TO

Julia's actions

Visions of Sustainability

Eco-friendly Gardening

I will plant native species, landscape with water-efficient plants, and use eco-friendly fertilizers.


Consumption and Economy

Support Local Businesses

I will buy from local businesses instead of shopping online.



Use Muscle Power

I will only use muscle-powered transportation this week.



Meet My Neighbors

I will meet 1 new neighbor(s) this week.



Use Reusable Bottles

I will use a reusable bottle and stop purchasing bottled water, saving 2 disposable plastic bottle(s) each day this week.



Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 3 meatless meal(s) and/or 1 vegan meal(s) each day this week.


Ecological Principles

Recycle Everything I Can

I will recycle all materials that are accepted by local haulers or drop stations in my community this week.


A Call to Sustainability

Talk To Others

I will tell 3 people why sustainability is important to me and what my vision for a sustainable world is.


Participant Feed

Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 11/24/2022 2:41 PM
    This week I decided to do eco-friendly gardening. Right now I'm home in Seattle for the week so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to work in the garden, however I ended up hurting my ankle when I was on a walk. I couldn't plant anything but I did notice that we already had some native plants planted in our garden. I asked my mom and she said we had a mock orange plant, which i looked up and it said it was native to Washington (i'm not 100%). We also have an orange honeysuckle and a pacific rhododendron, although at the moment all the plants look dead because of the cold. The good thing about being back home is that we already have a compost system going and we've been using the compost as fertilizer (once it breaks down) for those plants, as well as everything else in the garden. When I'm in Portland composting isn't the easiest thing because I live in the dorms but when I'm in seattle it's something that I try to be aware of. But when I get back to Portland i think I'm probably going to look into composting/I'll start actively composting. I've included a picture of our compost system down below.

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 11/16/2022 6:34 PM
    This week I decided to support more local businesses instead of shopping online. One of my favorite things to do is online shopping because I feel like there's more options online and because it's just easier to shop than in person. But this week I decided to support some of the local businesses in the area instead of going online. The only money I have really spent this week has been on food so I thought that maybe instead of using food delivery apps I could go to a local food business in person and pick up my food. I visited some of the food trucks and ended up getting sushi, which is one of my favorite things to order on uber eats. I also went to Crafty Wonderland which is a local shop near PSU and bought some stickers to put on my reusable water bottle. Normally I like to buy stickers online because the inventory is usually bigger, but when I was walking to Powells last week, this was one of the shops that I noticed and peeked into. This time I actually bought something and I realized that one of my favorite sticker brands was available within this shop. I really like the Paper Puffin stickers because all the designs revolve around cats, so now that I know that this shop carries these stickers I feel like I'll probably go back when I need to buy more. I also looked into Paper Puffin and found that they were Portland based and that the merchandise was designed by K. Carlson which I found to be pretty cool. 

    • Sydney Brown's avatar
      Sydney Brown 11/20/2022 7:10 PM
      I love the local food here, it's such a fun thing to find good small businesses to support and eat at. There's a small business toy business that has a lot of stickers to choose from that I personally love to shop at in Sellwood called Limited Edition Toys and I think you would love that. Thanks for sharing!

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 11/09/2022 7:29 PM
    This week I decided to only use muscle powered transportation, which I interpreted as only walking. Since I don't drive, the only type of transportation I can really use is public transportation, ride shares, biking, and walking. I decided to do only walking this week because I live on campus so I never really need to go out of my way to get anywhere and because I live on campus, I also decided to get outside more and walk around. I always walk to the store to get my groceries so that wasn't really out of the norm. But I had to go to Powells earlier this week to get a book for a class, and usually when I go to Powells I take the street car because it's much easier and faster than walking, but because I was trying to walk everywhere, I walked there instead. My walk was pretty enjoyable because on the way there there was a lot of stores that I stopped into (not to shop, only to browse) and I also enjoyed walking in the cold air. Although this trip took a lot more time than usual, I really enjoyed walking and it seemed like less than an errand and more like an outing. In order to walk more I also went on strolls around the park blocks (because I had no where I needed to go), which was fun because the weather yesterday was actually pretty nice and the weather today was nice as well. And because it wasn't raining, the leaves were so much more vibrant and enjoyable to look at.  

    • angel sanchez's avatar
      angel sanchez 11/09/2022 11:32 PM
      hey Julia I also decided to walk more this week. I take the max to school from hillsboro and instead of getting off at pioneer square and taking the green or orange line to campus I decided to get off at goose hollow which is a couple stops before pioneer square and walk to campus instead. There's something about walking in the cold with warm clothes on that I found to be pretty enjoyable. 

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 11/02/2022 5:43 PM
    This week I decided that I would meet 1 new neighbor. I live in the dorms at psu, so I have plenty of neighbors that I could interact with, however this year I have yet to meet any of my neighbors. I haven't introduced myself to a single one and vice versa and even though I want to become friendly with the people on my floor it's hard because I'm extremely introverted and it's hard for me to make the first move. Truthfully there has never really been a time where I've been able to stop one of my neighbors in the hallway and introduce myself. So this week I decided to only meet one new neighbor because 1 is more of an attainable goal for myself rather than like 5 new people. Monday was halloween and during the day I was putting up a couple more decorations on our door because we had a couple people coming over later at night. While I was in the middle of hanging up decorations my neighbor from across the hallway was leaving their dorm and said that they liked the decorations I was putting up. From there we introduced ourselves and talked a little bit about dogs because my roommate has a dog and they said that they have seen us before with said dog. It was a short conversation but it was the first time this year that I actually talked with one of my neighbors and I definitely feel more confident about approaching other people on my floor.  

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 10/26/2022 8:48 PM
    This week I used a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic water bottles. Normally I do carry around my reusable water bottle, but there are instances where I find myself not wanting to carry it around. I'll normally just bring it to class and then drink out of it at home, but whenever I go out with my friends or I go shopping I don't like to bring it because it takes up space. Which then ends up with me either buying water in a plastic water bottle or getting water in a disposable plastic cup. But this week I made sure that I carried it everywhere with me because I wanted to stop buying plastic items and I found that carrying it around wasn't as bothersome as I thought it was. It was especially helpful when I was at the grocery store because I didn't have to buy a plastic water bottle. Instead I was able to just drink out of my reusable water bottle that I brought with me. I make an effort to use my reusable water bottle, but I know that I can do better and after this week I'm definitely going to try and rely on it more. Especially because there are so many places around campus where I can refill my water bottle.

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 10/19/2022 8:59 PM
    This week I tried to reduce the amount of animal products in my food. I had an easy time making/enjoying meatless meals because I find that a lot of my daily meals don't use meat products because it's more expensive to buy. But it was hard to stay away from using dairy products because I do have a lot of that stuff in my refrigerator from previous uses/the last week or so. So most of my meals did use dairy, but that's because I didn't want to waste what I already had. On Monday I made dinner using zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and red onion, where I roasted them for 20 minutes. After that I combined some fresh herbs and balsamic vinegar and tossed it with my roasted vegetables, which I then ate with some polenta. This could have been my vegan meal but I ended up using butter and cheese in my polenta because that's what I had on hand. On Tuesday I had leftover vegetables from the night before and heated them up for lunch, along with some green beans that I sautéed on the stove. For dinner I made miso soup with udon noodles, which is something I make quite frequently because it's filling and delicious. I use vegetable broth as my soup base instead of dashi mainly because Safeway doesn't have dashi (as far as I'm aware of) but also because I quite like the taste of vegetable broth in my miso soup. For lunch today I ended up making a caprese sandwich, which only consisted of mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, bread, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. This wasn't a vegan meal but it was a meatless meal. Overall I found that cooking meatless meals was pretty easy in the fact that I realized that my diet doesn't regularly rely on meat products. I was able to easily avoid meat, but my biggest challenge is using dairy products because that is something I heavily rely on.    

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 10/12/2022 10:49 PM
    This week I tried to recycle everything I can. I always try to recycle everything I can, but sometimes I can't bring myself/I can't find the time to wash out all of my food containers and bottles or properly break down my boxes. This week I really tried to make a conscious effort in properly recycling everything. I broke down all my boxes and rinsed every can and bottle that I used so there wouldn't be any residue from what was previously in them when I put them into the recycling. One of my biggest challenges is the fact that I put all my recycling into one bin in my dorm room, but when I actually take the recycling out, I can't always figure out which items go into which bins. There's labels on the recycling bins but I find that they can be semi confusing, so there have been many times where I have put things in the wrong area. This week I made sure to read all the labels to make sure I was putting things in the right bin and whenever I was unsure I made sure to ask my roommate or look it up on the internet. I recently found out that brown paper bags were recyclable as long as no food residue is on them. I previously thought you were just supposed to put them in the trash, so going forward I will start to recycle them, but I also like to re-use them as grocery bags whenever I go to the store.   

    • Katherine Cushing's avatar
      Katherine Cushing 10/15/2022 2:02 PM
      Hi Julia
      Recycling is a good goal to work towards. It seems that there is some kind of learning curve. I also aspire to recycle more but I also get confused sometimes. 

  • Julia Benevich's avatar
    Julia Benevich 10/05/2022 7:03 PM
    This week I chose to talk to people about why sustainability is important to me and what my vision for a sustainable world is. I had a pretty long conversation with my roommate and friend mainly because I feel like my strive towards sustainability could affect the way the two of us are living together at the moment. I felt like I needed to explain my goals for this course, along with my goals for my future and our future together (the rest of the school year). I think one of the reasons why sustainability is important to me is because I want to strive to do better, and I want to learn from my mistakes in the past. My current vision for a sustainable world starts with myself and my life, because I feel like in order for me to make a change at a global scale, I need to make a change in my own life as well. I want to try and reduce my food waste because it's always been something I struggle with. At the moment I am a really big contributor to over consumption, so a lot of what I buy goes into to the garbage. I expressed my goal to my roommate in hopes that maybe she would be interested in a more sustainable lifestyle in terms of food consumption and I was surprisingly met with agreement. One of my worries when starting this conversation was that I would feel overbearing and forceful to her, and that's the last thing I want to be. So I feel like we came to a sort of agreement to try and manage our food waste together this year. And I wanted to put emphasis on together because I feel like if we work towards a common goal, we'll be able to provide support and encouragement to each other if one of us is struggling. 

    We also talked about how we wanted to try and reduce our plastic use because we felt like this was something achievable within our current lifestyles. Using less plastic is something I have been actively trying to do for a long time, but I feel like I could strive to do better and because it's something I really care about. I grew up with animals, so one of my biggest worries growing up and even now is one of my cats or dogs consuming something they shouldn't. Whether that be a plastic bag or the lid to a plastic water bottle. The health of my pets is really important to me, so I feel like if I can reduce the amount of plastic I use, I can prevent accidents from happening and I could even prevent major injury. I talked about this with my roommate because we both have pets while living on campus, I have a cat and she has a dog. And in my own personal experience, my cat loves chewing on plastic, mainly plastic bags and chip bags. My roommates dog also really likes to take the plastic (bottles, wrappers, etc.) out of our recycling bin and chew on it, so if we can reduce the amount of plastic we use, we can prevent risks and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

    The issue of plastic was also something I talked about with my parents because although I have a cat here in Portland, I have four cats back in Seattle, as well as two dogs. I put a lot of emphasis on being more conscious about plastic waste when talking to them, mainly because I'm worried that my animals could consume something they shouldn't. I felt like it was kind of hard having a conversation with my parents about sustainability mostly because they are a bit old school, and because i found it was hard to get my points across. But I feel like they understood my concern about plastic because it not only affects the animals in our lives, but it also affects every animal living on this planet. I'll probably continue to have more conversations with my parents, because I found that they really do take what I have to say to heart, and I feel like if I can have more open conversations with the people around me, I can collaborate with them to make more sustainable choices.     

    • angel sanchez's avatar
      angel sanchez 10/06/2022 12:18 AM
      hey Julia i think talking about the issues as hand is a great idea because just talking about sustainability in class has given me much more insight on what I can personally do to change. There are so many points of view from different people on sustainable efforts that I'm sure I haven't thought about but talking about them with those that have a little experience with them can be really eye opening.