Faculty Feature: Smith Getterman calls students to care about one another

Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects, promotes a more environmentally conscious Baylor campus. Photo courtesy of Smith Getterman

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

“We are surrounded by people that are just accepting being average, and I feel like Christ has made us to not be average,” Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects, said. “He has challenged us to work toward being the best that we can be, and if we have the ability and the time and the resources to do the things that we need to to get there, then why wouldn’t we?”

Getterman said he has lived with the idea that he must always be working toward a goal and have something to look forward to.

Getterman attended Baylor as an undergraduate and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He said that he is passionate about reading and writing and that those who have majored in these areas are the most prepared to live in the real world.

After college, Getterman taught high school for two years before returning to Baylor to get a master’s degree in communications and media studies, which led him to land a job at Sony Online Entertainment in Austin.

After two years in this corporate job, Getterman heard about a job opening where Baylor was starting a sustainability program. He said the job really fit his skill set, and he has worked in this program since 2009.

Getterman said his job is really about getting those who aren’t environmental science majors interested in what they have to say and getting people to care about creation.

One of the biggest projects that was successful on Baylor’s campus was the start of the water bottle refill stations. The idea initially came from a student who was a cross country and track runner who suggested the idea after running at another school.

According to a Baylor News article from 2013, it was reported that a year after the first two stations were placed in Moody Memorial Library and the Bill Daniel Student Center, the water bottle refill stations were used around 22,000 times. From there, they were placed in other locations around campus.

After watching students be active, do things for their community and speak their minds, Getterman said he noticed how current students are more involved on campus than they were during his years at Baylor.

“It’s very easy to be here on campus and check all the boxes and accept that as success,” Getterman said. “But what happens as soon as you step off campus, when you are not here anymore and you don’t have the routine? Are you still challenging yourself? Are you still working toward the life that Christ has for you?”

Frisco senior Meg Lewis, assistant to Getterman and president of the Sustainability Advisory Board, said she is inspired by Getterman because he has been able to make changes at Baylor. She said her role within the department has been to count recycling bins around campus and to promote the cause to go green.

“He is very passionate about his cause and is a really dedicated person in his role at Baylor,” Lewis said. “He has unceasingly pushed for several initiatives and does not take ‘no’ for an answer. He is willing to go all the way for his cause because that’s what he believes in.”