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Caroline Cook wants to leave the world better than she found it

Caroline Cook is an education major pursuing a minor in sustainability studies

Why did you declare a sustainability studies minor?
I declared a minor in sustainability because I have always cared about the environment and learning ways to improve my daily life while leaving the world better than I found it. That really struck a chord with me. I hoped to learn more about sustainability in general and how to apply it to my future career of physical therapy and I feel as though I have done that.

What are the most important lessons you have learned from your sustainability minor?
The most important thing I've learned is that sustainability is not just limited to the environment but permeates through all aspects of life. No matter what you're doing, there is a great aspect of sustainability to it. I try to think of everything in a lens of "how can I leave this better than I found it?" and I believe that is solely due to being a sustainability minor.

What was the most memorable course you took in your sustainability minor? And what did you learn from it?
Studying abroad in Fiji. I feel I learned a lifetime of knowledge there. On the island, I saw how, in some communities, it is possible to live incredibly sustainably. I learned about how nations the size of the US have such a major environmental effect on smaller nations like Fiji. Going over there made me want to do better as a citizen of the world.

Would you recommend the sustainability studies minor to a freshman just starting out at Auburn? Why or why not? 
I definitely would recommend the minor. I feel like a lot of students coming in think that their career doesn't have to do with the environment so sustainability isn't going to help them which couldn't be farther from the truth. I personally think all students coming into Auburn should take the intro class to at least get their feet wet and have a basic understanding on what's going on environmentally in the world right now.

What are your plans for the future (short term and/or long term)? Will you use what you’ve learned in your sustainability courses?
My short term plans are to attend physical therapy school. After I graduate, I'm open to whatever physical therapy job I can get, whether that's working in a clinic or with a sports team. Ultimately, my dream is to help establish PT schools in countries that don't currently have access to that type of healthcare. I'll take what I have learned from my sustainability minor so that I can best know how to help without hurting and leaving those places better than I found them.

 

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