Making Time Count:
A Dedicated and Extremely Involved Sustainability Advocate
by: Jaclyn Brass
Office of Sustainability Intern
Taryn Wilson,a junior in accounting, approaches life with an immovable determination and a core dedication to sustainability. From SGA involvement to recycling enthusiast, Taryn has embarked on a journey to effect change at Auburn, in her community, and in the South. Her infectious passion is clear, and her matter-of-fact portrayal of sustainability is compelling.
“Based on our love for Toomer’s Trees, I think Auburn inherently has a passion for nature,” Taryn said, “I think people are receptive to sustainability too, you just need to be able to deliver it in the right way.”
While she is now driven by a dedication to sustainability, it was only recently that this fervor took shape. She describes a switch being flipped her senior year of high school when the interconnected nature of the world became clear to her.
“I always liked to be outside, litter always bothered me for instance, but senior year it really clicked with me when I joined the environmental club that there was a science behind it not just an aesthetic, and I realized I wasn’t alone,” Taryn said.
Even though she is a rather quiet person, Taryn has jumped on every opportunity to make an impact while at Auburn. She became involved in SGA with the Office of Involvement and Outdoor Adventure Club , where she once swam with a friendly giant, the manatee. Taryn is currently serving as Assistant Vice President of Facilities for SGA. She also interned for the Office of Sustainability, works for the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department, and maintains a scholarship and a position in the Honors College.
“If you want to be an advocate of change you have to be willing to get involved with the people who make change. If you want to change something you have to go and change it. No one is going to change it for you. Roll up your sleeves and get in there and work,” Taryn explained vehemently. “I feel like I have a duty to get the most out of my time here and give the most I can back to Auburn. Wanting to get things done keeps me motivated. You don’t achieve too much by sleeping.”
Taryn’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond her busy schedule; she decided to express her dedication permanently through two distinctive tattoos.
“I have a Douglas fir on the back of my arm back because I felt like one of the most personal ways I could connect with nature and really show how much it means to me was to get a little tree,” Taryn explained. “My other tattoo says: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ I wanted to make sure I always remembered what I wanted to do and to be passionate about it, and I really live by that quote.”
As a Georgia girl, Taryn never really pictured herself at Auburn, but when the opportunity presented itself she was more than happy to accept, and luckily she wound up in an honors course that introduced her to sustainability in a more formal way.
“Sustainability is being cognizant of the world around us and understanding and protecting the interconnectedness. And people just need to understand that everything is connected and disrupting one part of the cycle is going to mess with something else,” Taryn said. “My teachers were fantastic and they really got me fired up for sustainability.”
You may ask what someone passionate about sustainability is doing majoring in accounting, but Taryn’s dedication to making a better world reaches beyond her enjoyment of nature.
“I want to pursue environmental consulting where you can show an individual or a company how their environmental choices are impacting their bottom line,” Taryn continued. “I think that a lot of times if you put a monetary value on things then people start to listen. If you bring the science and the economics together people tend to be more receptive, and that’s my goal.”
As someone who is well acquainted with stepping outside her comfort zone for a cause, Taryn offers some words of advice: “You are perfectly capable of being that one person that sparks a change, so don’t sell yourself short just because you don’t think you’ll be comfortable. You can do it. Anyone can do it.”