Witten By Tahirah Siddiqui
Since 1937 the Memorial Tower, known simply as the Belltower, has stood as a symbol of identity and unity for the NC State community.
The Belltower glows red for holidays to honor service members and veterans. It also celebrates NC State’s proudest achievements in areas such as academia, service, and athletics. On December 5th, 2018 the Belltower shined Wolfpack Red to recognize Meredith Bain for the outstanding achievement of being awarded the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarship. Meredith Bain is North Carolina State University’s 2018 Udall Scholarship awardee, making her the 15th Udall Scholar in university history.
The Udall Foundation is dedicated to educating a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through scholarship, fellowship, and internship programs focused on environmental and Native American issues. The Udall Foundation is also committed to promoting the principles and practices of environmental conflict resolution.
Bain, a senior from Charlotte NC, is majoring in mathematics and German studies. Prior to arriving at NC State, Bain graduated from the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. “My years at the School of Arts taught me the importance of intrinsic value, which translated over to my passion for the environment and to conserve it.” Bain came to NC State as a part of Goodnight Scholars Program. She credits her participation in the program for helping her realize the full value of North Carolina and the state’s potential. This realization further fed her passion for the environment and to conserve it through the use of renewable resources.
Throughout her time at NC State, Bain became increasingly involved in environmental organizations such as the Climate Reality Campus Corps, of which she is the current president. Bain and other Climate Reality Campus Corps members submitted a proposal to encourage the use of renewables instead of fracked gas for the university’s electricity needs. Bain’s first submission of the proposal ended up being rejected due to cost and time projections.
“We expected the proposal to be accepted immediately but, when people tell me no, it makes me want to get it even more.”
Bain did not let this misstep deter her, instead she chose to revise and resubmit her proposal. She found a way to purchase renewables for the university at a more affordable cost, which helped to strengthen Bain’s second proposal and led to it being accepted by campus leadership.
Bain first learned about the Udall Scholarship through the University Fellowships Office. She was intrigued by the idea of being raising awareness of her passion for the environment and was elated after being named as a Udall Scholar. She is excited and grateful to be recognized with the Belltower lighting ceremony.
Bain was invited to attend Udall’s Scholar Orientation, a five-day conference held each August in Tucson, Arizona, for all new Udall Scholars. During this week, scholars participate in professional development and community building to learn more about working on environmental and tribal issues. Bain found Udall week particularly helpful because it allowed her to meet people with a similar passion. She was also able to learn more about Native American communities and important environmental issues within their communities, such as water allocation.
“Being awarded the scholarship was awesome and not expected, but it helped me think about my future and what I really want to do.”
Looking to the future, Bain hopes to continue to build upon her passion for environmental conservation. She plans to pursue a law degree with a concentration in energy law with the hopes of being able to implement laws which would make renewables the primary source of energy in North Carolina. “North Carolina has so much potential to go renewable; we are so close to being the national leader in renewable energy, and I want to be a part of that.”
Some advice Bain has for other Wolfpack students is to volunteer a lot with organizations that are environmentally oriented. She notes this will help with getting the knowledge you may need to work in an environmental field. Volunteering can also help with networking within the professional community. Bain further suggests students take advantage of university resources, such as the library, as she has found it has so much to offer and is often underutilized. Finally, she recommends students visit the University Fellowships Office for honest feedback regarding their interests and future plans for scholarships, awards, and even graduate school.