For Reza Cristián Moreno ’18CPS, it was a healthy mix of academics, extracurricular experiences, and an inner drive to make a difference in the world that propelled her into an untraditional career as a writer, innovator, entrepreneur, and sustainability advocate. After graduating from St. John’s University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a minor in Business, she launched SUSTAIN, an online media platform that focuses on sustainability as the driving force for choices within lifestyle, fashion, food, and wellness.
“I am an advocate for keeping this world alive, clean, and healthy for future generations,” she said. “For me, sustainability is about making resources long-lasting through planet-friendly choices, from the way we eat and dress to how we consume and package things.” With contributors who include current St. John’s students and others based in Detroit, California, New York, and even Paris, SUSTAIN features a diverse collection of interviews, editorials, and photo essays that focus on sustainability.
It was her St. John’s University experience and her active role in a variety of extracurricular activities that prepared her to launch this project. As an undergraduate, Ms. Moreno served as the President of St. John’s Habitat for Humanity, as Social Media Director for the Earth Club, and as the Features Editor at The Torch, the University’s independent student newspaper.
“The Torch exposed me to a whole new world of communication and really helped position me to create SUSTAIN,” she explained. “It taught me everything, from fulfilling deadlines to coming up with content to doing graphic designs.”
With a track record in fighting for social justice issues, Ms. Moreno aims to make SUSTAIN an all-inclusive magazine that is more accessible to people at all socio-economic levels. “We push content that makes sustainable fashion fun and inexpensive, like thrifting,” she said.
Besides publishing engaging media content, SUSTAIN also hosts community events such as a beach clean-up and march for garment workers who face injustices in the fast-fashion industry. Ms. Moreno’s recent launch of an eco-art showcase featuring artwork that centered on environmentalism gathered hundreds of sustainability enthusiasts in New York City. Some of the local artists included current St. John’s students and alumni.
The combination of innovation, entrepreneurship, and journalism is important and meaningful to Ms. Moreno because she feels that women, especially women of color, should always believe they are capable of creating amazing ideas. She cites Oksana J. Siwolop, Professor, Division of Mass Communication, as a mentor who made a great impact on her career choice. Even before SUSTAIN was launched, she approached Prof. Siwolop for advice on her entrepreneurial aspirations.
“She told me that I should do what I love and not give up,” Ms. Moreno recalled. “Everyone should chase their dreams.”