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OSU Extension role promotes sustainable waste practices

Friday, April 19, 2024

A headshot of Keima Borsuah. Her hair is in long black braids, and she is wearing a blue blouse with a black blazer over it.

Borsuah travels the state delivering waste management and watershed education to students, community leaders and policymakers. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agriculture)


By Laney Reasner


Keima Borsuah, Oklahoma State University Extension assistant specialist for solid waste, brings a wealth of expertise and a deep commitment to fostering environmentally sustainable practices in managing Oklahoma's solid waste.


Borsuah, who grew up in the Republic of Sierra Leone in West Africa, said she has always had a personal connection to the environment. As a child, she remembers how issues with waste management would create breeding grounds for mosquitos, decrease water quality and harm the environment’s biodiversity.


“Growing up, I experienced firsthand the effects of poor waste management,” Borsuah said. “I asked how I could be a solution, and I knew I would work in this field from a young age.”


Borsuah attended Njala University in Sierra Leone and received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science. While at Njala University, she volunteered with organizations to preserve and increase biodiversity in Sierra Leone. She also volunteered with the university’s study abroad program, where she first encountered OSU through a graduate student conducting research abroad.


In August 2015, she moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and graduated from OSU in 2017 with a master’s of environmental science with a focus in water and watershed management. She began working with OSU Extension shortly after.


As the OSU Extension solid waste assistant specialist, Borsuah travels the state delivering waste management and watershed education to students, community leaders and policymakers. Her contributions extend beyond Oklahoma, with engagement in numerous state and national boards and organizations, including the Solid Waste Association of North America and the National Recycling Coalition Board.


In March, Borsuah helped coordinate the First Oklahoma Recycling Festival in Stillwater. She hopes the event will continue yearly to promote the community and individual benefits of recycling.


She also facilitates workshops to reduce illegal dumping, increase recycling and composting efforts, and properly dispose of waste to minimize environmental damage. The combined efforts of Borsuah and her collogues earned OSU Extension the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful environmental excellence award for higher institutions in 2023.


“I am making little changes every day,” she said. “If I can change one person’s mindset, it can change the world.”

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