Inclusivity and cultural sustainability for an equitable society

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Written by:
Ritu Jadwani with the women involved with Namaste NYC
Ritu Jadwani with the women involved with Namaste NYC

Hello, Namaste, My name is Ritu Jadwani and I am an international student at the University of Nebraska, currently pursuing my PhD in the Fashion Merchandising department. At the Office of Sustainability, I work as a Sustainability Specialist Graduate Assistant to facilitate various sustainability programs for the UNL community. My key responsibility is to build partnerships with various departments and coordinate outreach activities to build a sustainable campus.

While growing up in India, my mother used to design modern clothing using traditional old saris to preserve and re-use the intricately handwoven fabrics. I became more aware of traditional techniques of textile sustainability while studying fashion design in India where I was exposed to various regional craft practices in the state of Gujarat, western India. In 2013, I started an initiative Namaste NYC, to support the dying textile crafts of India and generate employment opportunities for women. Namaste NYC works with disabled women, women who have been victims of domestic violence to support them financially. This helps create inclusivity through social practices and employment generation. I am also very interested and inspired by the idea of cultural sustainability, where one can learn from specific traditional practices of recycling/re-using/conservation to support the global community and generate cross cultural collaborations. I was able to share my knowledge of slow fashion, experiences of working with non-profits in India, Namaste NYC; with the students at the University of Delaware while teaching Fashion & Sustainability.

There is a lot to learn from the STARS program at AASHE to create frameworks and incorporate sustainability in our regions, be it local universities or global cities and help build a better, safer, cleaner, just community. At the Office of sustainability, I am hoping to use all my previous industry and academic experiences to drive a change and create a sustainable society.

Ritu Jadwani
Ritu Jadwani