Porter, junior in biosystems engineering, developed SGA’s Department of Environmental Awareness and Sustainability on campus.
At one meeting, Porter noticed students who were drinking from plastic bottles would just throw them away when they were finished, rather than recycling them.
“I drug one of the big Coke bottle recycling bins into the meeting, and [my assistant] and I dug through the trash to get all the plastic bottles out,” Porter said.
Porter said when people have access to the recycling bins, they should use them.
“I really just want other people to care,” Porter said.
However, she said causing people to care can be a difficult task.
Porter’s main goal is to encourage environmental awareness among college students.
She has been working toward her goal since she was a freshman, but she has always been an avid recycler because of her parents.
“People don’t understand,” Porter said. “They think that just one person at Auburn University isn’t going to be able to convince all these people to make a difference in the world. But it can happen. One person can trickle down and affect so many people.”
Porter’s assistant, Meha Jha, said she admires Porter’s genuine passion to help the environment and the future.
“Our generation is what’s going to carry through the next few years,” Jha said. “We are the ones who really have to bring out this change. It starts with us.”
Porter wants to start the change by introducing hydration stations in the Student Center and passing out reusable water bottles with the Auburn logo and green leaves to promote recycling and reusing.
These are intended to cut down on the amount of plastic bottles students use on campus and also to make students excited.
“People don’t really understand that companies that are making the plastic bottles are making a huge carbon footprint and that they are cutting down trees to make those factories,” Porter said. “People don’t understand that there is a reason for it.”
Porter also makes recycling exciting for herself and her friends with what she calls “target practice.”
She lines empty glass pickle jars at the recycle center and throws empty glass Febreze plug-ins into the jars to shatter them.
Porter said the recycle center wants people to crush their glass, but most people forget.
Brittany Henderson, junior in political science and member of Porter’s sorority, said Porter sees the bigger picture.
“I think what she’s trying to do is really hard and some people laugh at her, but her determination is going to make her successful,” Henderson said.
Porter also started the Environmental Awareness Event Planning Form, which works with events on campus to make their activities green.
“It goes through everything your events have, like transportation, waste and recycling, energy, water and publicity,” Porter said. “And then we educate [on how to go green].”
However, Porter has come across difficulties during her green efforts.
“This is like taking a beating—people don’t support you as much as they say they will,” Porter said with difficulty.
Porter said she doesn’t understand why people joke about recycling and criticize her.
She said people have to believe in something in order to make it happen.
“It’s our earth, and we need to give back to it, instead of take away from it,” Porter said.