Judith Enck ‘81 earned her history and political science degree at Saint Rose, but it’s also where her passion for protecting the environment began, and where she met a group of friends whom she is still close with today. Enck went on to become an often-quoted environmental policy expert and has served as a regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
We asked Enck what Saint Rose has meant to her:
Saint Rose has a proud history, particularly of working in areas that help the community. I was always in awe of students who were studying to be teachers, speech pathologists, and social workers. I think that’s Saint Rose’s unique imprint on the world.
I’ve spent my whole career working to protect the environment – that got started in earnest when I was a Saint Rose student. For anyone who is looking for a way to make a difference, I would say: Pick an issue that you’re passionate about and then figure out a way you can do something.
We can’t solve climate change or pollution all by ourselves. That’s why I’m an advocate of working at the community level because that’s where you can actually make a difference. And work in groups, not alone, because the issues can be daunting, and you don’t win quickly. So, you want to find people you enjoy working with. Everyone has a unique gift to bring to an issue campaign.
For instance, I do a lot of environmental advocacy work in the Capital Region. You meet the best people this way. These are people who care. They roll up their sleeves, and they put in countless hours to protect the environment, even though they don’t get paid for it. We have this merry little band of volunteers who put in hours and hours each week. The issue is serious, but it helps if you’re having fun while doing it.
When I was at Saint Rose, I was fortunate to meet a group of strong women with whom I’m still very close. When you do public-interest work, there are more low points than high points, but having a group of strong, fun women to lean on really helps.
I have such fond memories of sitting around after dinner and talking to friends for hours. We’re all meeting (on Zoom during the pandemic), the same group, every few weeks. The conversation has never stopped.
That is a really special gift that Saint Rose gave me.