Occupation: Former executive director of the NLEN, current Sustainability Coordinator at MUN, mother of a two year old daughter, with another child on the way.
Bio: Shelley Pardy should be your hero. This witty and intelligent hell raiser was born in Port-aux-Basques, but grew up mostly in Lewisporte, though she’s lived all over the island. After high school, she headed to St. John’s to begin a degree in Pure Math at MUN (!!). About halfway through her degree, on a particularly bad day, she was walking up the front steps to the math building when she spied a poster advertising a glamorous life working for StatsCan. Consumed by the unbearable image of life in a basement cubicle, she listened to that little voice that had been telling her she wanted to make a difference in the world and transferred to Grenfell to complete a degree in Environmental Studies. While there, she started volunteering with Oxfam and Council of Canadians and also started a few environmental student groups. All this experience brought her to her current position of Sustainability Coordinator, where she’s trying to help MUN become a more sustainable place for future mathematicians and activists alike.
How has the transition from campus activist to campus staff been? Do you feel like you’ve infiltrated the enemy camp?: “It’s been good, actually. As an activist you really want change to happen quickly but now, being on the other side, I can see how sometimes a slow and steady approach to change is sometimes a good thing. You learn what can actually be done now and what you have to hold off on.”
Upon hearing, for example, claims that David Suzuki is a “junk scientist”, have you ever been genuinely afraid that your head would explode?: Who wouldn’t? “It is so frustrating when people refuse to believe something which is so obvious and has the backing of so many credible scientists. You have to remember that sometimes when people are against something, it’s because they are frightened…you just have to soldier on.”
Motivating words: “Do well, and right, and let the world sink.” (George Herbert )
— Sarah Smellie