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Photo of Award recipient Sara Geonczy with the family of Will Olson

Sarah with the Olson family

Sara Geonczy — Student

William Olson Student Achievement Awardee

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Sara Geonczy embraces the spirit of sustainability through her work, schooling, and personal actions. During her time at Auburn, she has selflessly devoted her time in many aspects of sustainability. She served as an Office of Sustainability intern, has worked at the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department as an Education Coordinator, was a founding member of the Auburn Real Food Challenge, held an internship with the community garden, and helped secure a student sustainability internship position with Tiger Dining. Sara’s optimism and sense of hope pervade all of her endeavors; motivating those around her to engage in the possibilities that come from collaborative efforts. This, paired with her work ethic and determination to make a difference, makes Sara a great advocate for sustainability.

Beyond her active engagement and clear passion, Sara’s innovative thinking and can-do attitude define her many tenures. During Sara’s time as an Education Coordinator with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department, she was a role model for her peers. She created new ways to engage her fellow students and personally took on the task of developing educational materials to teach others about landfills and waste. She also developed educational signs for outreach identifying correct recycling habits. Sara’s ability to be a true team player helped to improve recycling in the residence halls, and has enabled her to find ways in which to make sustainability relatable, easy, and adaptable to the community.

Sara was also a founding member of the Auburn Real Food Challenge. As the group’s vice president and the dining committee chairperson, she has worked to bolster Tiger Dining’s awareness of sustainability and increase the amount of real food served on campus. She also helped secure an internship position with Tiger Dining, now filled by Rosa Cantrell. In addition, Sara continues to play a growing and vital role in the Community Garden, where she created a garden internship through the College of Agriculture. Through this internship she’s worked on improving the rental process and the garden experience, and also enhancing the community experience by having garden workshops and events.

Sara’s passion, commitment, and innovative thinking make her a clear champion of sustainability. Never afraid to raise lift her voice in support of sustainability initiatives across campus, Sara’s warm nature and inspired vision motivate her peers to join her in the movement to create a flourishing future.