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Environmental Research, Working Toward Saving the Planet Among New Bobcat’s Plans

July 12, 2023
Incoming student Benji Thier
Incoming student Benji Thier has big goals in mind.

Incoming Bobcat Benji Thier already knows what he wants to do with his college degree: Save the planet.

“I am planning to study Environmental Systems Science because I did some environmental work in high school and I think it is a very important and relevant field,” he said. “I believe we need more people in this field because we need to save our planet.”

Thier, a Tiburon native and graduate of Redwood High School, visited the campus on Bobcat Day and was impressed with how much environmentally related research is being conducted.

“I have been thinking about environmentally friendly ways I can help the planet while using my degree,” Thier said.

One of the opportunities he could choose to participate in is a Living Learning Community affiliated with the School of Natural Sciences, such as Carson House, which focuses on a sustainable future. UC Merced’s Living Learning Communities bring together students who have similar interests and educational goals and connect them with academic, social and personal resources across the campus community. The communities are designed to enhance undergraduate learning, encourage persistence, spur intellectual development and bridge gaps between students’ in-class and out-of-class experiences.

Bobcat Day was a large factor in his decision to come to UC Merced. He said he liked the campus, as well as the excitement he saw among students and faculty. He had the opportunity to meet several faculty members who gave him their contact information for when he starts school. He also met many current students and other incoming first-years, including another Redwood High School graduate.

He is not the first in his family to go to college, but he said being away from home will take some getting used to. Besides his environmental studies, he is most looking forward to “learning new things and meeting new people.”

He would also like to join a fraternity and a ski club. While UC Merced has plenty of Greek life, there is no organized ski club, so, like many Bobcats before him, Thier will have to start one from scratch. In the meantime, he can take advantage of the Outdoor Experience Program , which offers, among other things, custom trip planning, equipment rentals and organized trips.

Thier is obviously keeping the future in mind, and when asked to send a message or a reminder to his future self, he said, “I would tell my future self to ensure happiness in life.”