Photo of Award recipient Trey McDonald receives his award from Mike Kensler, Director of the Office of Sustainability at Auburn University.

Award recipient Trey McDonald receives his award from Mike Kensler, Director of the Office of Sustainability at Auburn University.

Trey McDonald — Alumnus

UNC Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

Trey McDonald (MS, LEED AP) embodies the spirit of sustainability through his passion and dedication to guiding university campuses, and their inhabitants, toward a sustainable future. You can see his commitment in the adoption of sustainable practices by the universities with which he has been affiliated and in the faces of the students and interns he has mentored. Trey’s not only tenacious in the organizing of others around sustainability, but also in the pursuit of it within in his personal life. Through a combination of hard work, humor, and collaborative leadership, Trey is helping to shape the University of North Carolina – Greensboro into a model for sustainability.

Trey’s impacts can been seen in the multiple climate action plans he has shepherded into fruition, and the associated greenhouse gas inventories he has conducted to measure the successes of those planning processes. His fingerprints can also be found on the many sustainability programs he has developed and spearheaded, including the Vampire Energy Slayers, a Green Office Certification, residential housing energy competitions, residential composting, and sustainability internships. Through these and other activities, Trey’s commitment to engaging others in the journey toward sustainability remains vital, relevant, and dynamic, and has resulted in increasing improvements in UNC-Greensboro Sierra Club’s Cool Schools rank from unranked in 2010 to 39th in 2012.

Beyond planning and program development, Trey places a critical emphasis on educating others on sustainability. Trey has facilitated a growing connection between UNC-Greensboro’s Operations and Academics units, enabling students to engage with sustainability from an academic perspective on their own campus. In addition, Trey co-teaches courses on sustainability and environmental studies and conducts numerous guest lectures, touching even more students every semester. He has also helped guide the certification of four LEED-rated buildings for various on-campus units, providing additional opportunities for others to learn about the practical applications of sustainability. Beyond UNC, Trey has taken his passion and knowledge for sustainability into the broader world through multiple presentations at conferences and involvement in state-wide meetings and committees that are critical to realizing sustainability.

Trey earned his BS in Marine Biology in 1992 from Auburn University, and went on to complete his MS in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida in 2008. He currently serves as the Sustainability Coordinator and adjunct faculty member for the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Trey spends his free time restoring historic homes by using and repurposing salvaged materials, and has earned two residential historic preservation awards for his efforts.