Hailing from Berkley, California, Fiona Mulligan transplanted herself across the country to attend school at Colgate. The size of Colgate and the school’s liberal arts curriculum drew her to ultimately reside in upstate New York. The relocation was certainly an adjustment; the Hamilton winters were quite different from the California sunshine to which Mulligan was accustomed.
“I wanted to get out of California, to be on the East coast,” Mulligan explained. “Being so far from home, the weather was a lot to get used to.”
Despite the adjustment of her first year, Mulligan became active both on and off campus, exploring a range of activities focused primarily on aiding the environment. As a senior, Mulligan now runs Students for Environmental Action (SEA).
“It’s the biggest thing outside of academics that I’m involved in,” Mulligan said. Mulligan also works for the Upstate Institute as well as contributing to environmental studies as a coordinator.
Mulligan took her studies abroad to Australia for the fall semester of her junior year. Mulligan also traveled to Guatemala and Honduras for an extended study group for a class on archaeoastronomy. In addition, Mulligan received a grant to study in South Africa last summer with three other students from Colgate.
“We worked on a sustainable development program,” Mulligan said, “looking at ways people can continue to grow without destroying the environment. I wish Colgate forced kids to experience things like this-to force students to be a minority”.
Mulligan is an Independent Studies major, studying JIS programming and currently working on her senior honors thesis. She is also co-authoring a book with Professor Ellen Kraly of the geography department.
Mulligan’s post-graduate plans include tentatively moving to Venezuela next year and “volunteering for Angel Conservation, an NGO operating in Venezuela that is working with the Pemon Indians to preserve cultural heritage and environmental sustainability.” She would also like to work for an eco-tourism business, leading trips across the country recreationally.
Mulligan had this advice for first-years.
“College is always a shock for anyone. Try as much as you can. Don’t feel like you are committed to anything. Go to lectures. We are so lucky with the people we can bring to campus. And go outside as much as you can.”