In 2018, Fran Letts came to Colorado State University from rural Illinois with a purpose.
“I knew two things,” Letts said, “I wanted to be somewhere in Colorado, and I wanted to study the environment. CSU was the best option by far.”
Letts, who has majored in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and minored in Spanish, has made the most of her time as a student at the Warner College of Natural Resources. In her first year, Letts discovered that the HDNR major spoke to her passion for connecting people to the environment. Classes in the major also helped her reflect on how natural resources deeply affect people in bigger ways than most people understand.
“In class, I learned that if we’re looking at an environmental issue, people might assume there’s an easy answer,” Letts said. “HDNR has taught me that environmental challenges can be very complex, take collaborative work to solve and there are many variables to consider.”
In her time as a student, Letts has been a peer mentor in the EcoLeader program through CSU Housing and Dining’s sustainability program, served as president of the Zero Waste Team and has worked at the Environmental Learning Center as an environmental educator since January 2020.
At the ELC, Letts developed a composting program as well as developed conservation lesson plans and facilitated outdoor education experiences for students K-12.
“Getting to work with kids is one of the most rewarding experiences. The ELC was one of my favorite parts of being at CSU, and I know I was able to make a difference for some of the youth in our community,” Letts said.
Jacqie Hasan, Letts’ academic adviser, notes her attitude and significant contributions as a student in the college.
“In terms of maturity, work ethic and personality, I would place Fran in the top five percent of students I’ve worked with in my career in higher education,” Hasan said. “Fran exemplifies all we hope to see from students in WCNR.”
In her own words
Q: What are your plans after graduating?
A: While I don’t have concrete plans yet, I know I want to be outside, connecting people to the environment and making a difference. To do this, I’ll utilize what I’ve learned in environmental communications classes from HDNR to communicate and educate effectively.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: My dream job would be to be a small business owner doing some type of waste diversion work or waste education work. I think that so many sustainability things can be inaccessible to folks. Not everyone has the ability to own an electric vehicle and solar panels, but everyone can learn how to reduce their consumption and properly sort their compost, recycling and trash.
Q: What has been your favorite memory at Warner College?
A: I think my favorite memory would be eating lunch in Sherwood Forest almost every day. It’s been the best. Sherwood’s got really good energy.
Q: What will you miss most about CSU?
A: I’ll miss my classmates in HDNR. We all know each other and have been in all classes together, but are graduating at varying times. The other day we had one of our last classes together with Professor Brett Bruyere, and we all walked out the door and said our goodbyes. It was sad, but it’s a nice thing to be close to one another. I think the camaraderie within our college makes Warner really special.
Q: Do you have any advice for incoming freshman?
A: I would say, ‘dive in.’ Go to all the student clubs if you’re interested in them. Take the leap. Go to the Warner Picnics and hang out in Sherwood Forest. Take advantage of your time as a student.