Mark Mistretta is a second-year junior majoring in biology and interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in health and medical humanities. He founded UNC Charlotte’s Plants for People student organization and was nominated by the University for a 2023 Sustain Charlotte Award. Learn more about Mistretta and his sustainability work in this Q&A.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose to call UNC Charlotte home because of the vast array of opportunities and support offered on campus. I find the true spirit of a Niner to be inspiring and reflective of who I strive to be. UNC Charlotte is always growing and discovering new ways to invigorate the student body. Plus, I look good in green!
Can you tell us a little about Plants for People and why you founded it?
Plants for People is a service-based organization that focuses on implementing horticulture to promote sustainability, educate students, create valuable friendships and provide service opportunities that aid food-insecure students. Having experience with greenhouse management, I tied together my values and skills to implement an organization that would strengthen various garden spaces, influence people and facilitate a greener, better tomorrow.
I was able to utilize the network I gained through UTOP and launched this organization with first-year students motivated to garden and serve our beloved community. I had a vision and with support from my team and the University, I am happy to see it flourishing.
Why is it important for the campus community to take part in sustainability initiatives?
Sustainability initiatives are vital to the prosperity of humans and providing a good quality of life. Seeing the negative impacts of climate change and the growing prevalence of unsustainable living, our responsibility is to protect our future. Sustainability isn’t only about our planet, it is about the people who live on it, too!
Where is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus is the Botanical Gardens. It’s like taking a step into a whole new world! Between the interesting architecture/planning, memorials and diverse flora, there is always something for me to discover and learn about.
What do you like to do when you aren't studying?
When I’m not studying, I like to spend time with music. Whether it’s strumming my guitar, mixing tracks on my DJ board or spinning a record, I spend my free time liberating myself with sound and expression.
What's a fun fact about you many people may not know?
One fun fact about me that many might not know is I am a dual citizen of Colombia and can speak Spanish fluently.