Jonna Fearmonti Gabbert is working to save the world one water bottle and one ink cartridge at a time.

Jonna Fearmonti Gabbert is working to save the world one water bottle and one ink cartridge at a time.

The Pittsburg State University student is passionate about getting involved, learning and growing so that she can be a catalyst for positive change, both at PSU and in the community.

Recycling is a main emphasis for her, but she’s also very much into diversity.

Fearmonti Gabbert is originally from Parsons. She graduated from Labette County High School, Altamont, and attended Labette Community College for a time.

“I had a bad car accident that ended my community college experience,” she said.

Other life experiences intervened as well, including marriage, the birth of two children, then later divorce, remarriage and a third baby. Fearmonti Gabbert, who has been in Pittsburg for 12 years now, also had the Furniture Alley in Frontenac for a while.

But she hadn’t had the opportunity to finish her education, and regretted that.

“I decided to budget good for the next four or five years and finishing school,” Fearmonti Gabbert said.

She expects to graduate in another year with a communication degree and an emphasis in broadcasting. Her minor is in leadership studies, but she’s also planning on getting a certificate in women’s studies.

“I’m a Pitt Pal and have been working in the intensive English program, which takes international students who barely speak any English to the point where they’re able to function in a classroom,” Fearmonti Gabbert said. “I’m planning on getting an International Knowledge and Experience certificate, too. I’d rather know a little bit about a lot rather than focus on just one thing.”

She has worked in public relations for the Student Government Association, and has been issues and ideas chairman. She’s worked in various PSU departments.

“Any time there wasn’t much more work in a department, I’d go out and look for the next department to work in,” she said.

That has come in very handy for Fearmonti Gabbert in her role as a PSU Student Ambassador.

“We give tours to prospective students and their parents, so I’m able to answer a lot of questions about the various departments and put them in contact with people I know in those departments,” she said.

She is also a member of the Crimson Club, a student organization that represents the Office of the President.

Members are chosen on their academic, athletic service or other outstanding contribution to the campus, and represent all students at events such as the President’s Society Dinner, receptions for international visitors and campus tours by state and federal government officials.

“I also have a DJ stint on Gorilla Radio on Mondays, and am an advancement ambassador for Alumni and Constituent Relations,” Fearmonti Gabbert said.

She recently attended the Midwest Student Civic Leadership Summit, sponsored Oct. 16 and 17 by the Jenzabar Foundation and the Minnesota Campus Compact at YMCA Camp Ihduhapi.

“Victoria Robinson also attended from PSU, and there were only four of us from Kansas who went,” she said. “You had to be nominated, and I was nominated by David Adams, director of Student Activities and the Student Government Association adviser.

She said that the camp was a gorgeous place, and the speakers were excellent, discussing topics such as finding organizing strategies and social entrepreneurship.

“The only downside was that it was the PSU Homecoming weekend,” Fearmonti Gabbert said. “I hated to miss that, but I decided that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

She has been honored as Student Senator of the Year and received the Golden Gorilla Award.

She wants to use all her skills and knowledge to bring about change, and that has already started on the PSU campus.

“In Student Government we did a green challenge at PSU and we won,” she said. “We also started a green program that recycles cell phones and ink cartridges. It was great to go to the leadership summit and see what other campuses are doing.”

But Fearmonti Gabbert wants to extend these efforts to the entire Pittsburg community.

“In Parsons they have one trash service for the whole city, and the cost is already figured in with the water bill,” she said. “I’d like to see if that’s possible here. We have an awesome recycling center here, but people have to take their recycle items there, and I think that stops a lot of people from recycling. If there was a trash service that would pick up garbage and also recyclables, why wouldn’t you recycle?”

Fearmonti Gabbert said that she likes to keep busy and likes to network.

“You never know,” she pointed out. “The person you’re talking to today may be your boss 10 years from now.”

She credits the help  and support of her husband, Chris Gabbert, who graduated from PSU last spring, in enabling her to devote so much time to her studies and activities. She has three children, Alissa, 9, Alucian, 5, and Xander, who just turned 1.

Fearmonti Gabbert will be going to the National Association of Campus Activities Convention in the spring and could have had a role in the regional convention, but declined.

“I would have had to be gone too long a time,” she said, “and I would have missed Halloween activities with my children.”