Jason Sheffield grew up swimming and fishing in Florida’s waters and has held a love for the environment throughout his life. So, after graduating at the top of his class in high school, he knew exactly where he wanted to go for college. He made FGCU his first choice, based on the local pride Fort Myers takes in conservation and the way FGCU puts sustainability at the center of the school’s culture.
One of the ways FGCU emphasizes sustainability is through our “University Colloquium” class. “Colloquium encourages all students to learn about the importance of our environment, and then deliberate on ways we can rectify various ecological issues,” he says. But it also opened his eyes to the ways sustainability is relevant to all majors—engineering students incorporate renewable energy into their designs, education majors teach their students about the environment, and political science majors like Jason might work with politicians on environmental legislation.
In fact, an internship with former Congressman Curt Clawson made particular impact on Jason’s life. Clawson helped spread the word that environmentalism and Republicanism can go hand-in-hand, and environmental efforts must be bi-partisan to succeed. The former Congressman helped pass a bill that preserved about 17,000 acres of Southwest Florida’s pristine coastal and island territory.
It’s safe to say Jason is passionate about the environment. Ultimately his goals are to become a lawyer working in human, civil and disability rights, and Jason sees a healthy environment as being critical to that equation. Talking to him, however, you might think he’d like to run for office. “That depends on the change that needs to be done,” he says. Spoken like a true politician.