Harbert College of Business
Taryn Wilson is an Honors College junior studying accounting and minoring in sustainability and community and civic engagement. She is active in Auburn's Student Government Association, student recruiters, organizations board and the involvement ambassadors. Wilson has spent much of her time on campus dedicated to sustainability, something that became a passion for her while she was a senior in high school and through an introduction to sustainability course she took at Auburn as a freshman. She has spent time working in the Office of Sustainability and in the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department and was involved in the creation of the Sustainability Coalition, a group dedicated to different aspects of sustainability, including society, nature, economics and personal well-being. The coalition is made up of eight student organizations and two university offices who are working together to increase awareness and understanding of sustainability at Auburn. An only child and a native of Duluth, Ga., Wilson said she enjoys camping, hiking and on rainy days, watching movies.
1. What made you decide to come to Auburn?
I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to come to Auburn, and at the time that I applied, I was very interested in pursuing a career in architecture. Being that Auburn has a great architecture program, it worked out perfectly for me to come here. It later turned out that the architecture program was a little (or a lot!) too demanding for me, so I moved into the Harbert College of Business!
2. How did you get so deeply involved with sustainability issues on campus?
I had the opportunity to take the honors introduction to sustainability course the first semester of my freshman year, and it really ingrained itself as part of my Auburn experience from then on. Because it was part of my first semester, I've never known an Auburn that didn't have a focus on sustainability. It has never occurred to me that some students have never had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Nanette Chadwick about their minor, or have never had a conversation with Dr. Nathan Hensley about experiential learning. It has always been an integral part of what I know Auburn to be, so continuing to stay actively involved in sustainability programming and initiatives feels like part of what I should do to be an engaged and useful member of the Auburn Family.
3. You've also been involved in the Community and Civic Engagement initiative here at Auburn. What have those experiences been like for you?
The summer between my sophomore and junior years, I had the opportunity to participate in the Living Democracy Program through the College of Liberal Arts Center for Civic Learning Initiatives. Working with Dr. Mark Wilson and Ms. Nan Fairley, I lived and worked in Selma for 10 weeks, working predominantly with the City of Selma and Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. During my time there I helped to lay the foundation for a canoe rental service at Old Cahawba and facilitated a session about entrepreneurship at a youth leadership conference.
Additionally, I participated in a spring break trip in which our group traveled to Eagan, Tenn., through another of Dr. Wilson's numerous opportunities for community and civic engagement. While there we worked with the Clearfork Community Institute to learn more about the impact of coal mining on Appalachian culture and met with local residents to learn more about their histories with the location and the culture. Being immersed in Appalachian culture for an entire week was eye-opening because it was such a departure from what I am used to. We lived in a small cabin behind someone's house and spent our days learning more about Eagan and doing service projects to connect with the residents. It was truly a learning experience, and I don't know that I've ever had an experience that taught me so much about life in such a short period of time.
4. What is the one piece of advice you'd give other students who are looking to get involved at Auburn?
There is something here for everyone! No matter your interests, abilities or skills, there is a place on campus where your input, effort and opinions will be not only accepted, but valued. And on the occasion that you can't find a place that "feels like home," you make your own organization! There may be other people on campus that would benefit from your new organization, and being able to offer someone else at Auburn the opportunity to make their experience at Auburn more meaningful is what involvement is all about.
5. What is your most memorable Auburn experience?
My most memorable Auburn experience changes every day. I feel that if I am doing what I am supposed to do and working to be the best Auburn student I can be, every day should be my most memorable experience. And so I do my best to live by that every day.
Read more about Wilson in this month's Sustainability in Action profile.