Supporting Veterans and the Environment

Aaron Banas (right) leads a nature retreat for D.C.-area veterans.
Aaron Banas (right) leads a nature retreat for D.C.-area veterans.
July 06, 2018

“During the fellowship, I learned that there’s really a dire need for a community organization that can get veterans together, get them outdoors, in a way that’s cost-effective and sustainable,” Banas says. “Sierra Club Military Outdoors was the perfect vehicle for that.”

While Banas arrived at GW with prior experience supporting veterans, he says being a Sierra Club Summer Fellow changed the way he sees himself as a psychologist. After finishing his fellowship, Banas immediately joined the American Psychological Association’s Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology. He is now pursuing opportunities to become more involved in research about how different environments impact mental health, as well as the psychology of sustainability.

“I hope to consult with different environmental organizations—such as the Sierra Club—about how we can shape human thoughts and behaviors around connecting people with the environment and the outdoors,” Banas explains.

Recently, Banas was selected for the Navy Clinical Psychology Internship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He will attend Officer Development School this summer and enter the Navy, where he hopes to start Sierra Club Military Outdoors chapters wherever he is stationed.