Maggie Brookshire

Maggie Brookshire

Class of 2019, Integrative Studies
"The bit of effort it takes to find where you really belong here is worth it. UNT offers so many options, so no student should settle until they find where they can thrive."
What attracted you to UNT?

"From the beginning, I could tell that UNT was a sustainability-minded school. The green and white caught my attention, but then I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our ‘Go Mean Green!' slogan doubled as a sign of pride in not just football, but also the area I wanted to study.

Also, I was looking for a school with plenty of options. I knew I wanted to study environmental issues, but I wasn't exactly sure the route I wanted to take. UNT offered several ways, and it was only up to me to figure out what I really wanted to do. I was a geography major when I applied here, but that switched to ecology when I first signed up for classes. I wasn't aware of the environmentally-focused classes offered by the Public Health and Philosophy departments, but I'm glad I found them. Midway through my second semester, I discovered integrative studies and created my ideal degree."

How have you gotten involved on campus?

"The two main groups I belong to are the UNT Community Garden and Ecoreps, both of which are programs under Student Sustainability/We Mean Green Fund. With these groups, I get to do what I already love—learn and teach others about how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.

As an Ecorep, I run sustainability workshops in the residence halls like Eco-Friendly Shopping on a Budget and Intro to Zero Waste Living. We also have other programs throughout the year, including the Tailgate Recycling Challenge at our home football games, Green Room Certification for dorm rooms, documentary screenings and the RecycleMania recycling competition among college campuses across the nation.

I truly enjoy empowering people to see that as an individual, they have the ability to make a positive impact on our planet's health every single day. Seeing that moment when someone realizes the profound effect they can make just by tweaking some of their habits is my favorite part about being an Ecorep.

In a similar way, witnessing the excitement of someone picking the first tomato they ever grew is the best part about my job as the UNT Community Garden facilitator. Helping people connect with nature and how their food is produced is so much fun to me. I grew up having backyard gardens and always having loads of houseplants, but signing up as a plot owner was my first real stab at vegetable gardening on my own. Sharing what I've learned since then with the new gardeners and meeting more people who share my ever-growing obsession with plants is a great experience.

I also have been involved in the campus storm drain artscapes beautification project which serves to educate about the effect of litter on our waterways. I was one of the artists selected to paint my original design onto the sidewalk surface of a storm drain on campus. I had some great conversations with everyone who stopped by to see my progress while I was working on my painting. It's encouraging to see people getting excited about projects like this.

Some other groups I'm part of include the Silvey Society, which is an interdisciplinary environmental honor society. When my class schedule allows it, I'm a part of Mean Greens for Animals and Future Without Poverty Club. I'm in the Honors College as well, and that's where I've made some of my closest friends here at UNT."

What advice would you give to a student who is looking to get involved on campus and make the most of his/her time at UNT?

"Chances are, the club or organization you want to join already exists. Try looking on OrgSync, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and UNT department pages first. Don't forget to look at the physical bulletin boards and posters that are around campus. If your club doesn't exist, it's up to you to make it happen. This looks great on a resume, and it's a perfect shortcut to finding people who share your interests. The bit of effort it takes to find where you really belong here is worth it. UNT offers so many options, so no student should settle until they find where they can thrive. That applies to everything—your friends, clubs, job, classes and your degree can all make you happy if you take charge in finding the right ones for you. Most importantly, go to your professors' office during hours. It really does help."