Auburn Family

The Office of Sustainability Helps Auburn Go Green

Green has come to represent more than just a color, green now represents a movement. At Auburn University, the green movement is propelled by the Office of Sustainability.

Sustainability “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” according to the Bruntland Commission of the United Nations.

The primary purpose of the Office of Sustainability is to educate people so that they may live and work sustainably, with a secondary goal of assuming a lead-role in creating a sustainably-functioning campus.
The office of sustainability was made permanent in order to facilitate Auburn University’s push for carbon neutrality.

The Office of Sustainability started as an initiative five years ago. It was made permanent last fall when Jay Gouge, Auburn University President, signed the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment.

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“[This program] commits Auburn to being carbon neutral at some point in the future,” said Emma Mulvaney, the Communication and Outreach Director for the Auburn University Office of Sustainability. Mulvaney is one of three full time staff members in the office. She is joined by director, Lindy Biggs and program director Matt Williams.

The office serves as an organizational hub uniting the different departments, organizations, facilities and extensions in the push to carbon neutrality.

The Office of Sustainability is not assigned to a specific academic department, because sustainability extends over all parts of the university, and affects everyone connected to it. The office works with faculty to integrate sustainability into their curriculum. The office serves as a resource for student groups on campus. It has gotten a minor in sustainability added to the curriculum available at Auburn.

“This year in December we had our first graduates in the minor in sustainability,” said Mulvaney. With a dozen more students set to graduate in the spring, the minor is growing in popularity.

The sustainability minor is composed of three areas of study including society and markets, environment and social justice. The classes range from ecotourism and environmental design to global consumer culture and gender in close relationships.

The office also offers internships that are available to all students in all majors.
“We have students come work in our office for 10 hours every week for an entire academic year,” said Mulvaney.

The universal nature of sustainability has allowed the Office of Sustainability to generate a large impact at Auburn University and the surrounding area in a short amount of time.

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Tags: Campus, Environment, Green, Involvement, Minor in Sustainability, Office of Sustainability, SarahGiffard


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