By Travys Harper.
I was first exposed to sustainability at Auburn through an Introduction to Sustainability course. At the time, I began to notice that I was already doing some of these things in my life naturally, for example using less water for dishes and brushing my teeth. I was more conscious of my usage, not rushing or restricted. One work assignment included tallying the number of times within a week that I flushed a toilet, threw away a piece of plastic waste, walked or rode the transit, and reused a water bottle (the water refill stations on campus were always clutch!). These assignments connected it all together for me. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is what piqued my interest and I began finding sustainable solutions to be more intentional in all aspects of my personal life. I hoped to influence those around me as well. How would I do that? Lead by example.
Architecture has been a passion since I was a child. Attending Auburn, I was totally immersed in the design/construction world through my architecture degree and internship. I followed my passion for sustainability and sought to include that as well. My Auburn experience impacted my future by teaching me the value of perseverance. Changing majors and searching for a purpose to align with strengthened my perseverance and contributed to my Auburn experience.
Upon graduation I worked with Harpscape, my father’s lawn business, and worked on several residential plantings and projects. Because of my courses at Auburn, I was able to see aspects of sustainability in how my father operated his business. For example- he planned how much material he would order for a project to not waste any, he was able to reuse material, and he set the most economical travel route to pick-up supplies. A couple years later, I joined Trees Atlanta as an Urban Forestry Technician providing invasive plant removals along the Atlanta Beltline Westside Arboretum Trail. I was then promoted to planting ball and burlap trees with the Urban Trees program and later became a Workforce Development Supervisor connecting the communities with Trees Atlanta’s conservation efforts. During this time I was also the Youth Tree Team Supervisor which employs local high school aged students to work for 7 weeks in the summer months.
Green Infrastructure is a professional emerging green collar career incorporating real world solutions to stormwater management, conservation, climate change and community revitalizations through nature. One change I hope to see at Auburn University is installation of more Green Infrastructures on and surrounding campus. I have seen improvements yet there is always room for growth because I believe in Auburn and love it!
Post contributed by Travys Harper, Green Infrastructure Manager for Trees Atlanta
Learn about the SDGs & AU and Auburn’s contributions related to this post: