Sustainability Student Advisory Board helps earn Baylor “Texan by Nature” Certification

Courtesy photo from Instagram @osogreen

By Lilly Price | Reporter

Texan by Nature, a conservation non profit organization founded by Former First Lady Laura Bush, was acknowledged Baylor’s sustainability program with project certification.

According to the Texan by Nature website, their certification “provides Texas employers, organizations, and individuals with recognition of meaningful conservation efforts involving and benefiting people, prosperity and natural resources.”

Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects, said that Texan by Nature recognized the Sustainability Student Advisory Board, as well as the sustainability team’s efforts with move in and move out programs and food insecurity on campus.

The past decade has marked drastic improvements in the way that Baylor uses resources, as well as the holistic approach taken to the environment.

“Culturally, Baylor has shifted in the ways I wish that people who were not here 10 years ago could go back in time and experience … it’s even better than a night and day difference,” Getterman said.

The Sustainability Student Advisory Board has worked toward improvements that Baylor has implemented in recent years.

Meg Lewis, president of the board, said she has chosen to focus the organization toward breaking “the Baylor bubble.”

“Since I became president in the fall of 2019, I have put a greater focus on expanding out into the Waco community. One thing that we were recognized for is going to the Mother Neff State Park,” Lewis said. “Another thing I want to focus on is recycling at Baylor, debunking the myths that we don’t recycle, educating people on what we do recycle.”

The function of the advisory board is one that plays a key role in keeping the administration connected to the voices of students. Lewis said that the perspective of the student led group allows them to observe what’s happening in dining halls and dorms and take it a step further with their connections and passion for sustainability. They also strive to be a place that students can go with concerns and suggestions.

“I don’t know of many other student boards or committees that have direct, almost 24/7 access to an administrator … the advisory board has a direct impact on what we’re doing on campus,” Getterman said.

Collectively, the sustainability work done by the board and the Baylor administration is intrinsic to the university’s emphasis on faith.

“How does a secular university do this without a Christian mission? The answer to that is I don’t know,” Getterman said. “We’re focused on our love for our neighbor and how we can live out that mission … it’s part of our fiber and being here at Baylor.”