ASU student honored with sustainability fellowship

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The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Allie Garrett, a senior sustainable development major, was recently awarded the Z. Smith Reynolds Fellowship for 2015-2017.

Provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the fellowship is paid and is awarded to an individual who demonstrates a willingness to work in philanthropy, public policy and community service in North Carolina.

Garrett said she will primarily be working with grant writers, to help determine which nonprofit organizations to give grants to.

“[Reynolds] wants to keep a young voice involved with their grant making,” Garrett said.

Garrett said that there are five main components of sustainable development that she will be working with in the fellowship: social justice, environmental, community and economic development, strengthening democracy and education.

She said that she is also looking forward to moving towards a focus in social justice, after focusing primarily on the environmental part of sustainable development so far in her career.

Garrett credits her experiences at Appalachian State University as the key to getting the fellowship, working as a Residence Assistant as well as working with the Renewable Energy Initiative, Appalachian Voices and the Alternative Service Experience as providing her with the necessary skills to succeed in the fellowship.

“I got the theoretical skills in my classes, of course, but I also got a lot of experience through my extra-curriculars,” Garrett said. “And that’s what I think made me such a strong candidate.”

Garrett said she tries to educate people about the wide breadth of what sustainability entails, saying it’s much more than just recycling, like some would believe.

“People tend to think that sustainability is just recycling or the environment, but it’s so much about the economy, and people, a million different things.” Garrett said. “I try to get people to understand that it’s all those things intersecting, and it’s just really interesting.”

The Z. Smith Reynolds Fellowship is an incredibly prestigious award. Only one person each year is selected. And Sandra Lubarsky, a former professor of Garrett, said hundreds of people applied for the award.

“The competition is really stiff,” Lubarsky said. “It’s such a competitive scholarship, and I’m just so proud of Allie.”

Lubarsky said she’s extremely happy for Garrett because she’s so well-suited for the fellowship.

“I think that she’ll fulfill all of [Reynolds’] aims and what they hoped for,” Lubarsky said. ”She’s extremely hard working, she’s devoted to these issues, she’s extremely conscientious, and she’s talented – the total package.”

Story by Tommy Culkin, News Reporter