KP Fellow Application Personal Statement #1
What impact do you want to have on the world and why? Please limit your statement to 250 words max.
Far from the quiet university library where most of my peers worked on their capstone thesis, I scootered across Shanghai, feeding the many-mouthed hydra that was the city’s lunch delivery rush. I had set out to investigate the environmental impact of food delivery packaging in China. With over 18 million food delivery orders placed daily, I wondered if the packaging and plastic one-time use tableware are properly recycled. To raise awareness of the environmental impact of food delivery, I launched a school-wide campaign encouraging my classmates to pledge to order takeout less or opt-out of utensils whenever they can. The effect of the campaign, albeit successful at the time, was short-lived, because the convenience outweighs the wish to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. A few years later, the platform redesigned their checkout interface to default to “opt-out” for utensils, which greatly reduced overall waste. It taught me a valuable lesson: socially responsible behaviors start with socially responsible products.
Good products are deeply rooted in the compassion for humans and the planet that humans inhabit. I have come to realize that the smallest product decision could make a world of difference for our community and our environment.
I want to have an impact on the world by creating products that are mindful of their environmental impact and promote social equity. By taking an interdisciplinary approach combined with empathy, I believe I can create products that make a positive impact on our society and environment.
(Word Count: 242)