Garrett Hurley

Garrett Hurley

Garrett Hurley (GR ’20), Sustainability Coordinator at Indiana State, is driven by “helping students become leaders, and giving back to future community leaders.”

It’s what drew him to pursue a master’s degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education (SAHE). Garrett travelled more than 2,200 miles to learn at Indiana State because the SAHE program came highly recommended. He also discovered opportunities he’d have as a Sycamore that were missing at his second-choice school back home in Corvallis, Oregon.

One valuable opportunity was a graduate assistantship in the Office of Sustainability. After graduating from the SAHE program last year, he advanced to his current role as Sustainability Coordinator.

His day-to-day tasks in the sustainability office, on the east side of campus near the community garden, involve connecting with people – students, faculty, staff, community members, volunteers, representatives from local organizations – to further sustainability on campus and throughout the community.

Indiana State has opened doors for Garrett personally and professionally over the last 3.5 years, but he still sees room for the University to grow.

As an Oregon native, environmental literacy was critical to Garrett’s education growing up. Now he aims to cultivate greater integration of sustainability at Indiana State.

It isn’t just about the climate crisis. “Sustainability is a concept that touches everything,” Garrett says.

It also promotes quality of life and building more resilient communities. Talking about it is not just built for science classes; Garrett thinks sustainability should be discussed in all courses, and outside of the classroom.

He says sustainability supports our collective success – at the University, in Terre Haute, and beyond.

If you wish more people were involved in sustainability work, Garrett’s advice is, “It starts with you. Get involved in things that are already happening.”

The good news is, impactful sustainability work is easy to find at Indiana State, beyond the university’s popular Earth Day event in April. Efforts driven by student, faculty, and staff leaders in sustainability work include:

  • Faculty and student research centered around the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development goals.
  • A student-driven permaculture food forest used as a “living laboratory” for research, experiential learning, and service learning.
  • Sycamore Secondhand, an on-campus store selling donated items collected during residence hall move-out.

That’s only a small sample of the sustainability work happening on campus. Learn more about getting involved online!

Garrett says sustainability work is also underway in the Terre Haute community. A few examples include:

  • ReTHink – a nonprofit featuring plastic up-cycling, composting, a community garden, and a zero-waste shop.
  • Trees Inc. – a nonprofit preserving and beautifying the community’s urban tree canopy, which improves our air quality and soil health.
  • Terre Haute’s NAACP – an organization advancing sustainability and environmental justice locally and statewide.

Garrett’s role perfectly leverages his background in student affairs and his passion for sustainability while creating change he values.

He centers students in his work because “it’s important to help students build skills to work together and lead on issues that impact our collective success because sustainability impacts everyone’s ability to survive and thrive.”