Ruby Veridiano G'15

MA in Global Communications (Fashion Track)

Ruby Veridiano G'15

What first drew you to AUP? 

In 2013, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in sustainability and social responsibility in the context the fashion industry. When researching graduate programs, I saw AUP had courses in ethical fashion, which to me was a big plus. (At the time, the topic was not being covered by many other universities I looked at.) I also saw there were other relevant courses, such as development communications, that would allow me to gain knowledge around this subject matter. Getting my master's at AUP therefore felt like the right choice. It had always been my dream to move to Paris, but being able to study right next to the Eiffel Tower was just the cherry on the top. 

Did Paris offer you any learning opportunities? 

At Orientation, I was thrilled to meet people from around the world. We were speaking different languages but we were still united by experiencing a new life in France. We went to our first French dinner together that evening, accompanied by a student advisor, and I remember feeling giddy and excited by the newness of it all. That evening was the perfect prelude to the adventures I had with my classmates; it was equal parts learning and la vie Parisienne. Being in a fashion capital gave me access to different spaces beyond the classroom, such as Fashion Week and fashion designers’ ateliers. This contributed to my learning, and allowed me to soak up the fashion industry’s past and present. It was the experience of a lifetime.  

How did your time at AUP impact your career plans? 

I knew how I wanted to specialize going into my degree, but I was grateful my former journalism professor Madeleine Czigler insisted I explore all facets of the industry. Learning to see how a company invests in their overall operations helped me understand how sustainability and social responsibility fit into a company's strategy, which in turn helped me discern which companies are serious about their initiatives, and which use it as a PR or marketing tool. I was able to ask my course instructors for specific advice, and I found that everyone was thrilled to help me as much as they could. 

What advice would you offer AUP students entering your field? 

First, identify what your skills are and how you want to contribute to a company or organization. When you position yourself as a solution to a company's problem, you assert your contributions much more effectively. When it comes to sustainability, there are many different ways to prioritize the topic, from paying attention to products’ environmental impact to ensuring living wages for garment workers. As long as a company is measuring its progress and demonstrating a commitment to continual improvement, that’s a good sign. This might be unexpected advice, but I would also encourage students to work for companies that have more room for improvement. That’s where we need genuine, sincere sustainability leaders the most: storytellers and communicators who can create a cultural shift, mobilizing societies across the world to act with urgency. Given the international nature of AUP's learning environment, I believe AUP students are best poised for this challenge. I invite you to take it on boldly, courageously and with joy.