20 Under 40: Cameron Hawkins driven to make Steamboat more sustainable
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cameron Hawkins has made her mark on Steamboat Springs in three short years, especially when it comes to sustainability.
In her role as the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s waste diversion director, Hawkins is a tireless advocate for recycling, and most recently, she spearheaded the YVSC Recycling Day that saw 741 cars drop off recyclables at the expanded event, including 32,234 pounds of electronics and 8,300 pounds of scrap metal. The event was supported by 81 volunteers and 17 recycling partners.
When: 5 to 7 p.m. July 26
Where: Haymaker Patio Grill
Cost: $35, $15 for Young Professionals Network members
In nominating Hawkins for 20 under 40 recognition, Karen Schulman, of Focus Adventures and chair of the Routt County Litter Solutions Committee, described the 27-year-old’s commitment to improving the community and the world.
“Her passion is for promoting social, environmental and economic sustainability and helping heal the earth-human relationship,” Shulman wrote.
Hawkins graduated in 2014 from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, with a degree in biology and plans to pursue a medical degree. Before committing to that path, Hawkins lived in India for a year where she worked with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project, a community health and development organization. From there, she decided to pursue her dream of living in the mountains of Colorado and moved to Steamboat.
Soon after arriving here, Hawkins met YVSC Executive Director Sarah Jones for coffee to discuss internship opportunities, and by the afternoon, Hawkins had a job offer. She initially was hired as administrative assistant and then moved into her current position a year and a half ago.
“I’m always humbled that Steamboat has been so welcoming to me,” Hawkins said. “There has been a lot of opportunity to grow in Steamboat, and I’ve had a lot of support.”
In particular, Hawkins listed Jones, Anne Mudgett, Winn Cowman and Katie Lindquist Eriksen as mentors.
“I love what I’m doing, and I love working at the community level,” Hawkins said. “There is a huge integration between health and the environment. I’ve always been passionate about the outdoors and passionate about sustainability as well so everything just evolved from there.”
And though “green” issues are paramount for Hawkins, she does not limit herself to involvement in only one area. In addition to her work with YVSC, she is a member of the 2018 Leadership Steamboat class, serves on the Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial board and as a mentor with Partners of Routt County and also is involved with the local arts community.
Stuart Handloff, artistic director of the Piknik Theater Festival, also submitted a nomination on behalf of Hawkins and highlighted her involvement as a member of the Yampa Valley Performing Arts Council.
“Cameron brings a fresh, youthful perspective to our board and has been invaluable in researching and promoting our 2018 social media campaign,” Handloff wrote.
Outside of work and volunteering, Hawkins enjoys biking, hiking and gardening although she admits her “free time” is limited.
When asked to offer advice to young professionals who might be new to the community, Hawkins said she would encourage them to look at the listing of local events in the newspaper and then go out and start meeting people.
“Put yourself out there and get involved,” Hawkins said. “I think working at a nonprofit has been beneficial because it’s helped me to get to know people and to understand the community more.”
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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