Former EPA director visits CWU, urges students to take action


Photo by Jack Lambert

Gina McCarthy speaks on her experiences with the EPA to students in Science II.

Jack Belcher, Senior News Reporter

There were very few empty seats in the SURC Ballroom when former Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Gina McCarthy began to speak. McCarthy immediately let the audience know she believed that these are uncertain times in Washington D.C. She said that regardless of the preface, at the end of her speech she wanted everyone to feel hopeful about the future.

“Clean air and clean water and a healthy place to live is an essential value of everybody in the United States of America. It is not a democratic issue. It is not a Republican issue. It is not owned by one party,” McCarthy said. “This is the core value that we have celebrated and successfully delivered for 47 years using federal laws, and that is not going to change in the course of a year or four years or eight years.”

McCarthy was the director of the EPA from 2013 to 2017 under the Obama administration. She has a master’s degree in environmental health engineering and planning from Tufts University and a bachelor’s in social anthropology from the university of Massachusetts.

During her time at CWU on Feb. 6, McCarthy participated in two events. The first being a student reception and discussion involving the CWU Environmental Club and the Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Association (CERMA), that took place in the Science II building. The second event was the speech in the SURC Ballroom that was followed by a Q&A.

“I really enjoy how straightforward she is, and I really thought she had some inspirational things to say,” said CERMA member and graduate student at CWU Adam Riffle.

McCarthy ended her talk in the SURC Ballroom with giving CWU students a choice. They could either sit back and watch the world change, or if they cared about the future of the environment, then it is up to them to do something about it.