senior spotlight: alberto lopez ’24

Our 33 class of 2024 ENVS linked majors have primary majors in 15 different departments, from film to government to feminist, gender and sexuality to chemistry. This diversity reflects the deep and widespread interest in environmental issues on the Wesleyan campus and our incredibly fertile coexist community! Alberto Lopez ’24 is a government and environmental studies major from Texas. Learn more about Alberto, below!

Hi, Alberto! What are your majors and how have you combined those majors?
My majors are government and environmental studies. I’ve taken a lot of classes that have aspects of both majors. For example, Venezuela: the Effect of Oil Discovery on People, the Environment, and on Democracy/ENVS283, with Professor Machado, is a class about the politics of Venezuela and the extractive economies of natural resources.

Can you tell us about your senior capstone?
My senior project is on different policies that arose in Latin America from when they transitioned from an import substitution model to a more neoliberal model, and the environmental laws that came from that. I’m looking at what worked in the region and what didn’t work in the region, and making recommendations for moving forward. For example, how these countries can make laws for major corporations to make a more sustainable relationship between community and corporation. I’m working with Professor Machado, and he’s very knowledgeable about the area.

What has been your favorite environmental studies class here at Wesleyan?
During the pandemic, I took a dance class that explored the relationships between being outside in the environment and adapting to the environment while dancing. We did a lot of dancing outdoors, and I liked the class because I feel like it really introduced me to Wesleyan and the idea of having a relationship with the environment. Coming from Texas, it exposed me to different ideas.

Do you have any advice for Wes students who are just starting the environmental studies major or are interested in environmental studies?
Honestly, just have fun with it and try to be open-minded about the conversations you have in class. Because of where I come from and not being introduced to some of these ideas before I came to Wesleyan, I remember thinking that people were funny or doing too much. But now I know that it’s just the beauty of Wesleyan: everybody has different interests and ideas.