Mission and Approach

The Office of Sustainability exists to develop an ethic, practice, and culture of sustainability throughout Auburn University, and to serve as a sustainability resource for individuals and organizations within the university and in local, regional, national, and international communities.

Recognizing our opportunities and responsibilities as an institution of higher learning, we work to create a community culture where together we realize our collective ability and power to be co-creators of a future we all desire.  As a result, our work is aspirational in nature with hope and expectation of progress remaining essential to our work. By engaging with others in specific, relevant efforts, we seek to connect with the human desire to contribute to something larger than ourselves – something meaningful and lasting.

Key Functions

Everyone has a role to play in creating a sustainable tomorrow, and our office contributes by serving as a:

  •   Catalyst
  •   Facilitator
  •   Educator
  •   Resource
  •   Advocate

In these roles, we work with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators to develop a culture and practice of sustainability.  On campus we seek to embed sustainability into the university’s operations, instruction, research, and outreach functions.  In the spirit of extension, we also offer sustainability trainings and workshops for business, government, and civic organizations.


Photo of Mike Kensler
Mike Kensler

 Mike Kensler 


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. 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.

Photo of Amy Strickland
Amy Strickland

 Amy Strickland          

Program Manager                                                                                                                                     

Amy joined the Office of Sustainability in 2013, and works in conjunction with faculty, staff,  and students to promote the adoption of sustainable practices across campus. Prior to  arriving at Auburn, Amy led a consortium of universities, health care systems, businesses,  and local governments in advancing sustainability in Southwest Missouri. In this role, she  focused on helping member organizations improve their sustainability   performance, while  also developing community-scale projects designed to make  sustainable choices easier for everyone. In addition to her sustainability work, Amy spent a number of years working with the National Geographic Society to support K-12 geography education through the development of professional learning opportunities, public awareness campaigns, and policy initiatives.

Amy holds a Master in Public Administration with an emphasis in environmental policy from Missouri State University. Her research focused on sustainability as it relates to organizational development, policy implementation, and change agent strategies. Amy has also served as a Professor of Practice at Drury University, where she taught courses on sustainability management and the science of sustainability.

Photo of Jen Morse
Jen Morse

 Jen Morse

Outreach & Communication Manager                                                                                                                      

Jen’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, Jen  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.

Jen 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.


Each year we’re lucky to have a group of undergraduate students volunteer their time and talents to help achieve our mission.  You can learn a bit more about this year’s group below, and of course, you can meet our prior year interns, too!

Crystal Boutwell

Crystal Boutwell

Senior — Natural Resource Management
Nature Based Recreation Minor

Crystal Boutwell is a senior majoring in Natural Resource Management with a minor in Nature Based Recreation. She grew up in Brewton, Alabama. She initially fell in love with the outdoors through family camping, hiking, and fishing trips, but became interested in sustainability after taking classes at Auburn. Through her classes, Crystal has realized the connection between our actions and the well-being of the earth and strives to learn as much as possible about the impact of our actions in order to make wise and healthy decisions in the future. She believes that the earth and people are interwoven and that sustainable practices are necessary to provide not only a healthy earth, but also a healthy people. As an intern, she hopes to help educate students and faculty to more sustainable practices and encourage low-impact behavior in her peers. In her career, she hopes to work with rural communities to provide opportunities for economic development in healthy and sustainable ways that will better both the community and the earth.


Kenzley Defler

 Kenzley Defler

Senior – Environmental Science
Sustainability Minor

Kenzley Defler is a senior majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Sustainability. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky and lived there her whole life until coming to Auburn. Kenzley’s interest in sustainability began in her high school science classes and has grown since being exposed to many new areas of the field. She is especially passionate about issues of food security and enjoys her work with the Campus Kitchens Project focusing on reducing food waste and fighting food insecurity in the local community. In her second year with the Office of Sustainability, Kenzley hopes to raise awareness regarding ways to reduce our impact on the environment in order to make Auburn a more sustainable place to live.



Photo of Max Garcia
Max Garcia

Max Garcia

Senior – Environmental Design
Rural & Community Development & Urban Environmental Sciences Minors

Max Garcia is a senior majoring in Environmental Design with minors in Rural & Community Development and Urban Environmental Sciences. He was raised in Naugatuck, Connecticut and moved to Alabama in 2005. His admiration of the outdoors started with hiking trails and walks on Huntsville’s greenways during lunchtime. Auburn has further exposed him to the importance of human-environment interaction by researching the design of recreation and community planning. As an intern with the Office of Sustainability, Max hopes to gain an understanding of how to manage sustainability on a college campus and hopes to improve student wellbeing through eco-friendly lifestyle choices.




Shelby Hall

Shelby Hall

Senior — Chemical Engineering

Shelby Hall is a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering. She is from Tampa, FL, where her interests in sustainability first began by spending lots of time near the water. At Auburn, she rediscovered her interest in sustainability when thinking about how sustainable practices should be implemented in chemical engineering industry. As an intern with the Office of Sustainability, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how to one day implement sustainable practices in industry and bring more awareness of sustainable practices to Auburn’s campus.






Grace Harkin

Grace Harkin

Junior — Graphic Design
Marketing Minor

Grace Harkin is a junior at Auburn University majoring in graphic design and minoring in marketing. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has traveled all over the United States. Through her traveling, Grace has developed a passion for the environment, and how human populations affect environments. After coming to Auburn, Grace was inspired by the efforts the city makes to be more environmentally friendly, and hopes that that mentality can become more widespread. With her internship with the Office of Sustainability, Grace hopes to use her skills as a designer to help reach the student population and make the campus community more aware of sustainability issues. She believes through good communication and teamwork, Auburn can continue to become a better community.



Photo of Kelsey Lawrence
Kelsey Lawrence

Kelsey Lawrence

Senior — Industrial Design
Sustainability Minor

Kelsey Lawrence is a senior in Industrial Design with a minor in Sustainability. She is from Memphis, Tennessee, and enjoys painting, reading, and traveling. She has always been interested in environmental issues, but her interest in sustainability was piqued by professors in Industrial Design and the Honors College. While studying abroad, she was further inspired by forward-thinking, sustainable design concepts at Milan Design Week. Kelsey believes sustainable thinking is necessary to ensure basic quality of life for future generations, and she sees design as an integral way to implement sustainable practices. During her second year as an intern, Kelsey is serving the Office of Sustainability as a consultant, producing eco-friendly, three-dimensional products for both internal and promotional office use. In her career, she aspires to implement more sustainable methods of design within the mass-consumption-driven field of industrial design.



Hallie Nelson

Hallie Nelson

Senior — Ecologcial Engineering
Spanish, Sustainability,  Minors

Hallie Nelson is a senior majoring in Ecological Engineering with minors in Spanish, Sustainability, Community and Civic Engagement. She grew up in Austin, Texas, then moved to Birmingham, Alabama where her family now lives. In her free time, Hallie enjoys going camping or listening to live music. Her interest in sustainability began while taking classes at Auburn University. Her commitment to sustainability continues to grow through her work with student groups, like the Campus Kitchen. Hallie hopes to motivate students and employees at Auburn to get involved in sustainability during her coming year as an intern.




Matthew Preisser

Matthew Preisser

Senior — Biosystems Engineering
German and Sustainability Minors

Matthew Preisser is a Senior in Biosystems Engineering with minors in German and
Sustainability. He grew up in Crescent Springs, Kentucky, but currently lives in Houston,
Texas when not at Auburn. He became interested in Sustainability through his passion for the environment, which started when he obtained his open water Scuba License. During his
sophomore year of high school when he volunteered at the Newport Aquarium in Newport,
Kentucky, he recognized the need for a shift towards sustainable practices as a way to protect coastal environments. In his third year as an intern, Matthew plans to use his position as an intern to help others find a personal connection to the natural world and to educate others on the importance of protecting aquatic ecosystems.


Academic Partners

Photo of Dr. Nanetter Chadwick

Dr. Nanette Chadwick

Academic Sustainability Programs

Our office works in close conjunction with the Auburn Academic Sustainability Programs. The Academic Sustainability Programs focus on:

  • training students and faculty in the concepts and application of sustainability
  • expanding the incorporation of sustainability into the curriculum
  • fostering interdisciplinary sustainability research and
  • oversight, advisement, and administration of the Sustainability Minor.

Questions about the Academic Programs may be directed to Dr. Nanette Chadwick at 334.844.8184 or chadwna@auburn.edu