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Class of 2017: Senior looks back on, toward legacy of environmentalism

Senior Emma Brodzik has spent her time at GC focused on sustainability.

Emma Brodzik has worked months planning a weeklong celebration for Earth Day that included a talk by a globally-renowned environmental activist, ran a highly-coordinated month-long a tree planting campaign and is still managing to check all the boxes a senior does before graduating.

“I was really into nature, played outside as a kid and cared about animals,” said Brodzik, an economics major from Fayetteville. “The environment has always been an interest and passion for me.”

Brodzik can remember growing up demanding her parents to drive her to and from recycling facilities. It’s no wonder she entered into Georgia College with an intent to continue conservation work

Her path to paving the way for student-led sustainability efforts began on a whim when she applied to a Student Government Association (SGA) position at the end of her first year. 

“I knew I wanted to become more involved so I randomly applied to the assistant director of environmental affairs position,” she said. “From there, I learned the ropes from the director and also picked up a position with the Office of Sustainability.”

Brodzik is currently the director of environmental affairs for SGA, and she’s spent her time at Georgia College focused on making campus more environmentally-aware. Her roles in SGA and with Sustainability have led her to organize the tree-planting campaign, plant blueberry bushes on campus, collect water bottles for recycling and attend national conferences focused on the environment, including attending the White House Climate Summit twice.  

“I’ve learned so much, especially when it comes to networking and connecting with others about the environment and sustainability,” said Brodzik, whose next act after graduating will be as a project administrator with Delta Air Lines Environment  Sustainability group. “It’s important to be part of a community, so we can collectively figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

Brodzik’s dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. She’s been honored with the SGA President’s Award, the President’s Award from the Honors Program Eta Sigma Alpha and named GC Student Leader of the Year at the Bobcat Awards. 

For the graduating senior, she never expected to be noticed for her work in sustainability—but hopes the legacy she leaves behind will inspire others.

“We’ve come a long way with sustainability, but there’s always room for improvement,” said Brodzik. “My hope is that campus continues doing solar projects and eventually moves toward zero waste. Ultimately, I hope that people start to see the impact they have on the environment.”

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