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Samantha "Sammie" Brown working towards creating more sustainable architecture

Samantha Brown is a senior environmental design major with a minor in sustainability. 

Why did you declare a sustainability studies minor? 
I'm an environmental design major who plans to go into architecture and I wanted to become more knowledgeable on sustainability so I could design more things that are sustainable. I think I've learned a lot that will help me with that goal.

What are the most important lessons that you have learned from your sustainability minor? Has this knowledge affected the way you think about other issues, the way you act on a day-to-day basis, your career plans, etc.?
I can apply this information anywhere in far more capacities than I realized. As a design major, my future projects revolve around building and maintaining the building blocks of society. Design determines how we build cities and products and homes and everything else. I can apply sustainable design to ALL of that in a million different ways and that's both exciting and terrifying. What I design can help or hinder others as well as the environment, but I don't mean that in a fearful type of way. It's serious and I want to make sure that I am able to design things that are able to help others AND the environment, and that can come from more than just biodiversity! What are the materials made out of, what energy sources am I using, etc? Everything matters! And I've turned that interest in sustainability into a sort of passion. I want to create sustainable architecture. I want it to factor into everything I do.

What was the most memorable course you took in your sustainability minor and what did you learn from it?
Political Ecology. I took a generic anthropology class a while ago and wasn't great at it, but the overall topic that this class covered seemed absolutely right up my alley so I took a chance. Dr. Kelly Alley was wonderful and interesting and I loved the readings she assigned us. I loved how we could look at environmental problems not just from how they affected the planet and wildlife, but also how they affected communities and groups of people differently.

Would you recommend the sustainability studies minor to a freshman just starting out at Auburn? Why or why not? What would you say?
Not as a freshman. I think you need some background information on what you want to do and what you want to do with that knowledge. Taking sustainability classes alongside my major-specific classes has made it easier for me to put what I learn in practice and that would be harder to retain and use the information later on if you were learning it alongside all the core requirements.

What are your plans for the future (short term and/or long term)? Will you use what you’ve learned in your sustainability courses?
I'm going to grad school for architecture. I want to apply my knowledge in sustainability towards creating more sustainable architecture that are connected to their surrounding environment. And I want to work towards making sustainable architectural options more easily accessible and inexpensive if at all possible. Although, I don't want to design houses.

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