UT Wordmark Primary UT Wordmark Formal Shield Texas UT News Camera Chevron Close Search Copy Link Download File Hamburger Menu Time Stamp Open in browser Load More Pull quote Cloudy and windy Cloudy Partly Cloudy Rain and snow Rain Showers Snow Sunny Thunderstorms Wind and Rain Windy Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter email alert map calendar bullhorn

UT News

5 Questions for: Lindsey Hutchison, Senior Zero Waste Coordinator

Two color orange horizontal divider
Senior Zero Waste Coordinator Lindsey Hutchison. Photo by Trent Lesikar.
Senior Zero Waste Coordinator Lindsey Hutchison. Photo by Trent Lesikar.

As a student on the Forty Acres, Lindsey Hutchison fell in love with the natural beauty of UT’s vibrant campus. Now as a staff member, she’s made a career out of keeping the very same campus green and waste-free, helping the University reduce its carbon footprint in the process.

Hutchison graduated in 2007 from the School of Architecture, taking a particular interest in landscape architecture, in which she also earned her master’s degree from the University of Georgia. After some time away, she returned to UT in 2015 to begin her sustainability journey. Hutchison now leads the University’s Zero Waste Program, working with a program coordinator and team of student interns on many campus-wide sustainability initiatives to support UT’s zero waste goal.

How did you get your start at UT and in your role as senior zero waste coordinator?

I started in a part-time position in University Housing and Dining as the sustainability student coordinator. The position posting was called something like “landscaper” or “gardener” since it supported the vegetable gardens at Jester and Kinsolving, so I was fortunate that I clicked to read more about the full position supporting Green Corp (now UT Farm Stand) student employees and dining sustainability initiatives. A year later, I started full-time as the newly created coordinator position in the Resource Recovery branch’s Zero Waste Program and was promoted to the senior coordinator position three and a half years after that.

I utilize my background and skillsets in agriculture, architecture and program development, and my work with stakeholders, such as student employees. I also get to explore my interests in the diverse facets of sustainability.

What is the most rewarding part about your day-to-day job interacting with students and other employees?

We have an amazing student internship program that provides hands-on sustainability experience and foundational job skillsets for 18 students, and I love the opportunity to maintain fresh perspectives on our programs and support their future success. I appreciate UT staff for their diversity of skillsets, passions and dedication to their piece of UT’s success and willingness to provide support toward that goal.

What do you like best about working on campus?

I love the outdoor spaces on campus that are great for people-watching and appreciating native plants. I worked from the Mary E. Gearing Hall (GEA) courtyard one afternoon while the Texas mountain laurel was in full bloom and the fragrance wafted on the breeze.

What’s one part of your job and the work your team does that is important but might go unnoticed?

I helped get a few popular and thriving programs off the ground, such as UT Farm Stand and the UT Surplus REuse Store. We’ve also set up an academic building compost collection route, partnering with Custodial Services on restroom paper towel composting and pairing and labeling bins, and working with other staff and faculty on break room and event composting.

Our dedicated zero waste staff is two people for our already large campus that continues to grow. We value all the zero waste champions: staff, faculty and students embedded in their departments across campus who are able to expand the efforts and impacts being achieved every day.

What do you like most about being a Longhorn?

I use the bus and my bike to commute to campus. It’s great to be on my bike and ride the bus for free. I also use my bike to get around campus to meetings and site visits. I love the vibrancy of campus — the accomplishments being achieved, the continuous learning mindset, and the variety of arts and cultural events.