Aaryaman Singhal will graduate in December 2015 with degrees in BHP, MIS and Plan II. This semester he is one of only 18 students from UT Austin participating in the Archer Fellowship Program. He is spending the semester in Washington, D.C. interning with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and taking classes through UT focusing on policy, history and advocacy.
His specific internship is with WRI’s Food Program, where he has been working on collecting data to include in the 2015 World Resources Report and supporting the Food Loss & Waste Protocol effort. The effort aims to develop a global standard for quantifying loss and waste of food that will empower the world to minimize food loss and waste.
There are three main codes used to classify food that Aaryaman has been reviewing in an effort to find commonalities to create one standard code to use in the protocol. “There is no standard way of doing it now, so it is hard to say how much food is actually lost every year. By coming up with this standard measurement, the hope would be to reduce loss and waste.”
The Archer program has allowed Aaryaman to learn more about sustainability through the lens of a think tank, which has been different from learning about it in his classes in D.C., which are more policy-focused. He is the first Archer Fellow to intern at WRI, where there are currently about 20 interns from around the country and world.
Aaryaman says the scale of the challenges in sustainability has been eye-opening. It is estimated that 30 to 50 percent of food is lost every year. “There is a huge opportunity to reduce that amount of waste,” he says. “From 2006-2050 the amount of food we will need to feed everyone in the world will increase by 70%. Food and water resources are under tremendous pressure, and that pressure will continue to increase as populations grow and people in other countries earn more money and use more resources.”
The Archer Program has opened a lot of doors for Aaryaman in D.C. and has given him the chance to get to know the other 39 fellows (all undergraduate students from UT system schools) very well.
“Everyone is so intelligent and interested in such a variety of issues. I am really enjoying the people I am living with and interacting with on a daily basis,” says Aaryaman. Another aspect of living in D.C. that he has found valuable is the opportunity to attend free speaking events across the city, where he has had the chance to listen to experts in various fields.
The experience has confirmed for him his desire to work in sustainability after graduation and has been a bridge for him between his interest in sustainability and the skills he has learned from his McCombs classes. He says he could see himself back in D.C. after graduation. But whatever he chooses to do, he is grateful for the opportunity to explore a different career path and be part of such an amazing program.