Tempe, AZ – Consuelo Arroyo is working toward a career in sustainability, which could include helping to shape environmental policy from a seat on Tempe City Council, or another elected office.
Consuelo explains, “Right now, I’m thinking about working within the city – possibly, in an elected position to promote more sustainability. My definition of sustainability includes water, clean air, and working with communities to see what their needs are. And, just making sure that those needs are fulfilled, and that we’re looking to the future to see what we need and how we can make the world a more livable place.”
Consuelo, age 18, was born and raised in Tempe and graduated from Coronado High School. She’s a freshman at Arizona State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability, “My interest in sustainability really grew during my senior year in high school when I was taking an environmental science course. I was aware of these issues that we have like global warming and pollution, but I wasn’t really aware of how much they could affect us in the future. So, I took that class and saw it as my calling for what I want to do with my career.”
Meanwhile, Consuelo is among the hundreds of students who have earned scholarships from College Success Arizona, which provide up to six thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. The scholars also receive specialized mentoring services provided by a team of talented “Success Advisers.”
Matt Sotelo is Consuelo’s adviser, “When I meet with Matt we basically talk about what I’ve been doing in college so far, and what I want to do. And, it’s just super helpful for me to sit down and talk about my goals and what I want to do – and, if there’s something that I haven’t been liking about college and maybe that I want to change within myself, then it’s such an open space to talk about that and receive advice so that I can improve in the future.”
Consuelo adds that the financial aspect of the scholarship has also been a blessing, “It’s been so helpful, because if I didn’t get the scholarship, I would most likely have to be getting a job to pay for any extra expenses that I might have. But, thanks to College Success Arizona I can just focus on college and the college experience, rather than working a job to get money. It’s just been such a blessing.”
For Consuelo, life in college is also about building relationships and serving:
“I do a lot of networking at ASU and just by getting involved in my community and volunteering at different places, I’ve been meeting so many new people that have the same sustainability passion. Just recently, I volunteered as a bike valet which required me to check in peoples’ bikes at an event. But, through doing that I learned about the Urban Phoenix Project, which is a nonprofit which supports alternative modes of transportation, and I want to get more involved in this project. There are just so many networking opportunities here.”
For young people in middle and high school weighing their own college options, Consuelo has some advice, “Just say ‘yes’ to doing things. Obviously, keep in mind your schedule and how busy you are, but if there’s something you’ve never done before, or you’re going to be the youngest person in the room – just don’t be afraid of that. At least in my experience, there has always been something great that comes from stepping outside of my comfort zone, and trying new experiences. After I’ve let go of uncertain feelings about trying new things, is when my college experience has been really great for me.”
Consuelo adds that transitioning from high school to college has been pretty smooth, “I think that my classes in college have been a lot easier than I expected them to be, so that just leaves so much room to do new activities that I would have never have thought of doing in high school. And, I now have the freedom and the time to do that. Also, I’m learning a lot about people and the way that they interact with one another, because people come from all sorts of walks of life at ASU. You’re never going to find the same person twice, and this has been really interesting to connect with so many different people, and learn from them and their experiences.”
Parents often play a critical role in their children’s educational success, and Consuelo says her family is very supportive, “I think that ultimately my parents just want to see me have a career that I am happy with, but also that I won’t end up on the streets with no money. So, if I can fulfill those two goals, they will be happy with what I’ve done.”
Beyond the books, Consuelo says she looks for different ways to relax, “There’s always so much going on around campus and it’s just fun to try new things and see if I like it. For instance, I recently went to a Salsa club and I’ve never danced Salsa before, but it was just so much fun. Even if I wasn’t good at it, I felt safe being around other college students. Also, there is a really cool workout class that I do frequently which is called ‘grind.’ It’s basically a hip-hop workout and it’s really fun! It’s something that I never thought I would do and I always thought of myself as a bad dancer, and that I couldn’t possibly compete with the people that are in there, but I do it anyways.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income backgrounds, your tax-deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.