An aspiring musician who’s pursuing a degree in business, Maddy Roop admits she’s not the most obvious choice to serve as president of the Student Society for Sustainability.
“I’m not an expert, but I care about the Earth — and I hope you care about the Earth, too,” says Roop, who believes her lack of science chops makes the club more approachable for all students. That’s important, she says, because it’s going to take more than just scientists to address the existential threat of climate change.
“We want to bring in people from different majors like political science, business and education,” she says. “The Earth is burning and that affects everyone, not just environmental, earth and atmospheric science (EEAS) majors.”
Roop transferred to UML in spring 2021 from Middlesex Community College, where she got an associate degree in business administration. An Honors College student with business concentrations in finance and analytics and operations management, Roop became involved with the sustainability club after asking EEAS Assoc. Prof. Juliette Rooney-Varga to be her honors project mentor.
“I’ve always been interested in the environment,” says Roop, whose honors project idea was to ask students, faculty and staff to pledge to do just one thing to help the environment — such as using reusable shopping bags, switching from almond milk to oat milk or cutting back on meat consumption. She is now hoping to implement the idea with the sustainability club.
“So many people turn away from the idea of doing anything environmentally responsible because it’s this huge, daunting, monster of a thing to look at,” she says. “I want to give people those baby steps to get involved. Getting 100 people to pledge one thing is easier than asking one person to go completely zero-waste.”
Born in Los Angeles, Roop moved with her family to New England when she was 6. After graduating from high school in Arlington, Massachusetts, she briefly attended Berklee College of Music before joining the Burlington, Massachusetts-based Real School of Music — both as an instructor and office staff member.
A singer-songwriter who plays piano and guitar, Roop released her first album, “Rings,” in 2019. The rock and blues album is available on streaming services.
“So many people have projects they don’t finish — and I do, too — so it was really nice to hold a finished product that took years to complete. It’s the best trophy I could have asked for,” says Roop, who spent almost a year playing gigs in and around Boston before the pandemic hit.
Roop says she was drawn to analytics and operations management because she loves thinking about ways to make businesses run more efficiently. While she doesn’t want to work directly in the music industry, she can see herself being a financial analyst for a movie production company.
“A business degree gives me the freedom to move anywhere and have a good-paying job that allows me to go after my music dream,” she says.
As for her current role as president of the Student Society for Sustainability, Roop hopes to rebuild membership, which took a hit during the pandemic. Organizations, she has learned, also require long-range planning and care.
“You can only do so much unless you have younger students who can become the next leaders,” she says. “We have to make it sustainable.”