SGA Environmental Committee

SGAEC Members

Who are the student leaders working hard to Green UMass? Read the bios below to find out!

Joseph Klufts - Chair - Undergrad Member


Joseph Klufts is a junior Resource Economics Major from Amesbury MA. He has a lot of energy and brings enthusiasm to environmental economics. He has been actively involved in the SGA Environmental Committee and hopes to boost student awareness of environmental issues in the following year. In the future he plans to assess environmental policy in the government. In his spare time Joe enjoys being outdoors- hiking, mountain biking, and fishing (catch and release!!!).

Will Szal - Vice Chair  - * Alumni member

Will is a freshman in systems engineering.  He is especially interested in small-scale sustainable agriculture, locally-based economies, and entrepreneurialism.  He really likes music, snowboarding, mountain biking, and photography.  Before coming to UMass he attended a year-long Practical Farm Training Program at Maggie's Farm in North Orange, MA.

Patrick Donlan - Vice Chair - Undergrad Member

Kim Rinard - Secretary Undergrad Member


I am a transfer student from Holyoke Community College, currently pursuing a BS in environmental science at UMass Amherst, with a focus towards the toxicology track. I have worked for TestAmerica Laboratories, the World's Leader in Environmental Analytical Testing for 4+ years.  Previous work/volunteer experience include: an internship with a local engineering firm, serving as a voting member on a local conservation commission and volunteering for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the 21st Century Automotive Challenge hosted by Burlington County Institute of Technology, located in New Jersey.

When I am not driving my desk at work or cracking the school books I enjoy reading various adventure/sci-fi books, watching reruns of old school TV-shows on, chilling out with my german shepherd and SLEEPING!  I am also heavily involved in an amateur wind prospecting project in the Berkshire Hills area, where we are trying to find ideal locations for community-wind projects.

Past times include - Whitewater kayaking, Downhill skiing, Hiking, Geocaching, Camping, and Volunteering, exploring old bottle dumps/cemeteries and geneaology

Future career plans may include:
Grad school in the field of studying Hazardous Materials and Waste
Starting my own business within the environmental sector
Working for a HazMat Response team or an environmental firm with a focus on hazardous Waste

Having never been one to be heavily involved with extracurricular activities at school(outside of sports) I got involved with the SGAEC to try something new.  My involvement with the SGAEC has been rewarding and inspiring on many levels as I see young students that are dedicated and enthusiastic about saving our planet.  I did not get involved with a specific project in mind and would like to maintain a focus that best reflects the hopes and dreams of the student body in the spirit of the democratic process.

Real integrity stays in place whether the test is adversity or prosperity.
--Quote- Charles Swindoll

Jackie Willwert - Events Planner - Undergrad Member


Jackie Willwerth is a junior majoring in Natural Resource Economics with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Public Policy and Administration.  She has been involved in campus sustainability projects for the past three years.  In the future she would like to work to promote sustainable economic development.  Outside of her work with the environment, Jackie’s interests include traveling, food, the Boston Celtics and Ultimate Frisbee.

Rachel Dutton - Past Chair / Undergrad Associate member

Rachel Dutton is a Junior Spanish major working towards a concentration in Environmental Policy. She enjoys any outdoor activity but especially likes hiking, biking and pick up soccer games. Her interests include coffee in the morning, innovative music, speaking multiple languages, and vegan food.

Ali Adler - Past Chair /  Alumni associate member

Originally from Worcester, MA, Ali Adler is a senior majoring in sociology with a certificate in public policy and administration focusing on urban environmental policy. Since graduating high school, her passions for social action and the environment have pulled her towards activism with the youth climate movement and campus sustainability.  She's excited to work with the SGAEC to implement amazing projects to make UMass the greenest it can be! After graduation, Ali plans to do a year of public service, and hopefully get some experience related to sustainable city planning. In her spare time, Ali enjoys reading, watching the Office, Glee, and the IT Crowd (a British sitcom that nobody knows about), and being outside.

Amber Hewett - Undergrad Member

Amber is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Political Science and Earth Systems with certificates in Public Policy and International Relations.  She is an enthusiastic environmentalist excited to help bring sustainability to UMass- mainly through her involvement with the SGAEC and the Eco-Rep Program!  Amber’s passions include sailing, drinking tea, the ocean, Farmers' Markets, coffee shops, traveling, Newburyport, MA (her hometown), cooking (Amber is a lifelong vegetarian), and adventures.  After UMass she plans to steer toward a career in international environmental policy, exploring all that intrigues her along the way!

Monica Warren - Undergrad Member

Monica Warren, originally from Lunenburg MA, is currently a freshmen at UMass, on the Pre-Med tract and majoring in Kinesiology. Because of her passion for environmental sustainability, she joined the SGAEC her first semester on campus and is planning on making UMass as green as it can be through SGAEC! In her free time, Monica enjoys spending time outside, reading, dancing and laughing with friends.

Shalini Jayarama - Undergrad Member

Shalani's involvement in the SGAEC springs from her passion in environmental issues as we inhabit an increasingly endangered planet. Making policy changes on campus is a great first step to developing a green university and then a greener world, and that counts for something. Shalani is also very involved in the Eco-Rep program.

Yuri Dafonseca - Undergrad Member


Yuri is a junior at UMass majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Political Science. His main concentration is Environmental Policy. He's excited to be a part of the SGAEC and enjoys working towards the ultimate goal of making UMass more environmentally friendly and sustainable. He's been an RA on campus for two years, which he describes as a very rewarding experience. In his free time Yuri loves to play soccer, watch movies, play video games, explore new places and meet people.

Jason Dell'Orfano - Alumni Associate

Jason is majoring in Business Management and minoring in both International Relations and Economics.  His interests include efficient resource management, sustainable economic development, and international affairs.  When he is not attending class, working, or involved on campus, Jason enjoys reading, traveling, being outdoors, and playing intramural sports.  More than anything - he likes meeting new people, building connections, and taking initiative to make positive things happen.

Jonathan Farland - Alumni Associate

Jonathan is a senior with a major in Finance and Operations Management and a minor in Natural Resources Economics. He wants to utilize the research he has done in lean management and efficiency and apply it towards finding new, more environmentally-friendly processes. He is a new member to the Committee but is very eager to start working! Aside from sustainability, he plays drums for the UMass Drumline and is an active local musician.

Elena Hadley - Undergrad Asssociate

Elena Hadley is a sophomore Environmental Design major and a member of the Student Government Association Environmental Committee. She's working with the 350 Climate Change and Massachusetts Power Shift organizations this fall to raise awareness about the dangers to humanity from carbon emissions. This semester Elena is focusing on a green roofing initiative that will hopefully materialize into a green agricultural roof on top of Worcester Dining Commons (sustainable building meets sustainable agriculture). This past summer she worked as a piece-picker on an organic farm in Granby and fully supports local food and healthy eating. In between school and work, Elena enjoys riding horses, tromping through the woods, exploring abandoned buildings, cliff jumping and capturing her experiences through photography.

Pete Merzbacher - Alumni Associate

Pete Merzbacher is a junior majoring in "Globalization Studies." This is his first year working on environmental issues but after working on a farm and seeing how vulnerable agriculture is to severe weather, he decided to get involved. Pete's focus in the SGAEC is to get more people involved and/or interested in environmental issues through the development of "sustainability" community.  He says, "People need to know that they are not alone in the struggle to preserve our place and being part of community with concerned yet positive students is key to making Umass a more sustainable place."  His efforts to establish a stronger community require a lot of media and outreach efforts which led him to establish the "Media and Outreach" working group in the SGAEC.