The Office of Sustainability exists to develop an ethic, practice, and culture of sustainability throughout Auburn University, and to serve as a sustainability education and training resource for individuals and organizations within the university and in local, regional, national, and international communities.
What we do
The Office of Sustainability serves as a catalyst, facilitator, and resource for administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are interested in developing an understanding and practice of sustainability in their personal and professional lives, and contributing to creating a sustainable society.
The Office works to foster a culture and practice of sustainability on campus that is expressed throughout the University's instructional, research, outreach, and operational activities. The Office also offers sustainability-related education and training, as well as planning and decision-making workshops and seminars for business, government, civic, and other groups.
Sustainability is about creating a better future. As a result, our work is aspirational and future-focused. We are committed to a servant leadership approach in working for the common good. Hope and expectation of progress are essential to our work.
Our primary focus is not problem solving. Problems are solved in the context of creating a positive, productive future.
Our fundamental values reflect faith in people and acknowledge the universal human desire to contribute to something larger than ourselves, to do and create something meaningful and lasting.
We work to enable others to realize their ability and power to be co-creators of the future, and we engage people in specific, relevant efforts that make a difference in achieving a sustainable society.
The Office of Sustainability is located in Langdon Annex, one of the oldest buildings on campus. The space we currently occupy is the vision and labor of two Interior Architechture classes working on a sustainable renovation of an office on the second floor of the then abandoned annex.
Every year the Office of Sustainability works with a group of Student Sustainability Interns. Meet our Current Sustainability Interns and past interns:
Auburn's Office of Sustainability is comprised of operational and academic components:
Campus Sustainability Operations
The Campus Sustainability Operations initiative focuses on the way Auburn University conducts itself as an organization.
This includes such areas as building construction, renovation, maintenance and operations, efficient use and conservation of energy, transforming from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, conservation and efficiency of water use, landscape and land cover, transportation, stormwater management, purchasing, green events and office practices, waste reduction and elimination, food supply chains, pollution reduction and elimination, and other similar activities.
Campus Sustainability Academics
Our academic programs focus on training students in the concepts and application of sustainability, expanding the incorporation of sustainability into the curriculum through faculty training workshops, and fostering interdisciplinary research through obtaining extramural funding for sustainability initiatives. The minor in sustainability exposes students to topics such as natural capitalism, the interdependence of economics environment and social equity, systems thinking, climate change and the future of energy, and biomimicry in human engineered systems.
Director Campus Sustainability Operations
Mike has an MS in Natural Resources Management, Planning, and Policy from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, where his program emphasized the integration of science and policy and an interdisciplinary, holistic approach.
His previous experience includes environmental and sustainability policy, advocacy, education, and outreach work for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Norfolk, VA and Annapolis, MD. Mike also worked with the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates across the country focusing on environmental policy and education, organizational development, and movement building initiatives.
Mike has experience in and a passion for leadership development, organizational transformation, the creation of democratic learning communities, civic engagement, and individual and group empowerment. Mike believes that at the core of our efforts to create a sustainable society live both an ethic of responsibility toward the future, and a faith in people and their inherent aspiration, power, and ability to work together to create an ecologically, economically, and socially flourishing world.
Director Academic Sustainability Programs
Nanette works with students and faculty from departments across campus to oversee the Minor in Sustainability Studies and promote sustainability research. In addition to her activities in the office, she continues her position as an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Nanette comes to the office with 20 years of experience as an educator in environmental sciences and aquatic ecology. She especially is interested in mentoring students to be the next generation's leaders to meet the challenges of a changing world, and in working with campus operations to support the development of Auburn University as a living laboratory for hands-on student projects integrated into the sustainability curriculum.
Nanette received a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the Auburn faculty in 2004, she worked for many years as a professor at Bar Ilan University in Israel.
As he works with Auburn faculty, staff, and students to incorporate sustainable practices into campus operations and individual life choices, Matt focuses on the scientific and technical basis for sustainability concerns and solutions. Matt holds a BS and MS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. He joined the Office of Sustainability at Auburn in 2006, after previous positions as a research field biologist, a university instructor, and as a staff member of the Institutional Purchasing Program within the non-profit, Center for a New American Dream which works with public and private institutions and governments to provide resources to make responsible procurement decisions.
Matt completed the first Greenhouse Gas inventory for Auburn University and is currently involved in coordinating the campus Climate Action Plan. So much of the sustainability movement is about communication and Matt works to make sure that technical issues are presented to general audiences in an understandable and engaging way and has given numerous guest lectures and formally taught on sustainability issues including: general sustainability, biodiversity, tropical ecology, sustainable business, climate change, the future of transportation, economics and future energy choices, waste minimization, and consumerism/consumption.
Jennifer Morse, Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Jennifer's work focuses on outreach to students, faculty, and the community through education, communications, and projects. Prior to working at the Office of Sustainability here in Auburn, Jennifer worked in the natural resources field in research, environmental education and interpretation, recreation and wilderness management, and wilderness therapy. While in Peace Corps Ecuador she coordinated and conducted park guard training workshops, developed an ecology club for youth, and was a founding member of the Ecuadorian Environmental Education Network. She enjoys educating and inspiring others to learn about sustainability and our connections to the natural world around us.
Jennifer received her BS in Recreation Management from the University of Montana, and her MS from the University of Idaho in the Conservation Social Sciences Department. Her thesis was an evaluation of a wilderness therapy program for adjudicated youth.