A week in Chris Castro’s life means an unrelenting schedule of practicing what he preaches.

The UCF senior leads ecology students in planting native aquatic vegetation and removing algae in a campus retention pond, launches a company that creates local “green” jobs for UCF students and establishes chapters of his national organization at universities and high schools. He rallies people to use bicycles and other clean modes of transportation and teaches people how to be more energy efficient.

As a part-time employee with the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management, he contributes to many UCF initiatives, including the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report and a large-scale solar photovoltaic proposal.

This tireless sustainability leader is also a U.S. Department of Energy student ambassador for Florida. He made a national appearance earlier this month in a video that was prominently displayed on the agency’s Web site. In the video, Castro discusses UCF’s “Kill-A-Watt” energy conservation competition among residence halls. He offers helpful tips on how to save energy, such as unplugging phone chargers and computers and using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Castro, whose father owns a palm tree nursery, never thought of himself as an environmentalist until his sophomore year.

“During my environmental sociology course, I had an epiphany,” Castro said. He realized his life passion was the natural environment.