Leadership Team

The Leadership Team leads the CEC in a a positive, driven direction that will help to grow the organization’s positive impact on UT and the Austin community.  They provide support for all CEC leadership with ongoing campaigns, projects, and events and facilitate communication and collaboration with other organizations across campus and the greater Austin community.

Co-Director: Claire Alston

Hey friends! I graduated from UT in 2022 with a degree in Sustainability Studies and Architecture. Now I am in the Sustainable Design masters program at the UT School Of Architecture. I am interested in green design, sustainable materials and connecting students’ passions and skills to sustainability. I interned with UT Landscape Services as an undergrad and am so excited to now be working with the CEC! I am always down to meet with students for coffee or matcha to chat about environmental justice or urban design. When I’m not working on the UT campus I am probably enjoying live music in Austin or going on nature walks with my dog, Higgs Boson!

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Co-Director: Parker Lynas

Hello! I am a junior Government and Sustainability Studies double major. I began working with the Campus Environmental Center through Trash to Treasure and pursuing everyday sustainability. I am excited to work with every project at the CEC and the whole of the UT community. Sustainability is a great passion of mine that I pursue through my studies. After graduation I hope to continue pursuing what I love to do through environmental law. When not reading about or working on these projects I like to cook, eat donuts, watch my RTF friend’s favorite movies, and tell everyone I have a pet pig!


Education and Outreach Coordinator: Samhitha Thalluru

Hi! I am Samhitha Thalluru and I am a sophomore studying Economics and pursuing the Environment and Sustainability Bridging Disciplines Program. Growing up in a valley, amidst nature, I formed a deep and abiding love for the natural environment and found my passion for sustainability and protecting the environment. I have been part of the Green Events Team and I am very excited to continue making an impact by engaging the UT community in environmental issues and sustainability through this role. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, watching movies, making art, and spending time with my friends.


Communications Coordinator: Sophia Kontos

Hey friends, I’m an IRG and Plan II senior, also getting a French minor. Previously, I managed the newsletter for Microfarm. As a kid, I loved spending time outdoors – especially gardening and trying to eat more sustainably. Now, I’m still interested in sustainable food systems as well as thinking more broadly about sustainable urban planning. In my free time, I enjoy listening to every genre of music, reading, cooking, and learning new languages.

Staff Advisor

The Staff Advisor manages the day-to-day operations of the CEC, advises student leaders, and aides with liaising between the CEC and other parts of the UT administration.
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Jessi Drummond

Hey! As the CEC staff advisor, I’m passionate about creating a space for students to learn, lead, grow, and recharge. My favorite quote is from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. I moved from Southwest Florida so if you want to talk about best hiking spots, Austin activities, sustainability and more just message me!

Green Events Project Team Leaders

The Green Events Project Team Leaders network with student organizations to understand their needs, identify ways to make their events more sustainable, provide recycling and compost services at events, and educate event attendees about sustainable practices.

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Caroline Gamble

Hi! I’m Caroline Gamble, and I’m the Project Co-Lead for Green Events. I’m a freshman studying Economics and Sustainability Studies. I’ve been passionate about environmentalism since high school, and I am always looking for new ways to grow in my sustainability journey. In my free time, I love to read, go thrifting, work out, try new coffee places, hang out with friends, and spend time outside. I’m looking forward to working on the Green Events team!

Taylor McCoy

Hi! I’m Taylor, and I’m one of the co-leads of Green Events. This is my 3rd year at UT studying sustainability and geography, and it’s the best! As I love learning new ways to appreciate and protect nature, the CEC has been the greatest resource of community and sustainable action for me at UT!

Microfarm Project Team Leaders

The Microfarm Project Team Leaders maintain the existing garden spaces, lead volunteer workdays, develop planting schedules, and organize farm stand events. They are also planning the creation of a new garden and the transition from the current farm to the new space.


Alicia Rusthoven

Howdy! My name is Alicia and I’m environmental science major and English minor. I have been gardening since I was ten and involved with the Microfarm since the summer before my freshman year. You can find me biking with Texas4000 or doing any and every outdoor activity with my lovely friends (swimming, climbing, camping, hiking, taking the longest, most aimless walks imaginable, etc.). I also enjoy watching movies, curating spotify playlists, and reading.


Nikki Hammond

Nikki is a 3rd year Communication and Leadership major, with a minor in Russian and certificates in NonProfits and Social Entrepreneurship, as well as Food and Society. She has been involved in Microfarm since her freshman year, and is excited for her 2nd year as Co-Lead! Her other organizations include Absolute Pitch A Cappella and Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority. Her favorite vegetable to grow are tomatoes (even though they’re technically a fruit), because they are delicious and beautiful to look at!

Trash to Treasure Project Team Leaders

The Trash to Treasure Project Team Leaders sort and organize gently used items donated from the dorms, plan sale events, recruit and manage volunteers, collect items from dorms during Donation Drives, and plan specialty events such as the Office Supply Swap.

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Kate Weidner

Hi everyone, I’m Kate and I’m a co-lead on the Trash to Treasure + Making Amends project this year! I’m a junior Government major and have a passion for sustainability and environmental policy. I’m so excited to be working on this project to encourage more sustainable practices within the UT community! In my free time, I enjoy film photography, crochet, and going to live shows here in Austin!

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Lauren Smith

Howdy, I’m Lauren! I’m a sophomore Textiles and Apparel major at UT Austin. I am a Co-Lead on Trash to Treasure/ Making Amends team this year! I love to go to concerts, design and sew clothes, and play with my corgi Titus!

Environmental Justice Collective Leaders

The environmental justice (EJ) movement exists at the intersection of social justice and environmentalism, recognizing the need to understand the role that white supremacy, legacies of slavery, and settler-colonialism play into contemporary environmentalism and sustainability movements. The EJ movement seeks to end the disproportionate impact of environmental burdens on Black and Indigenous people of color, poor people, womxn, and disabled people.


Julianne Bantayan

Hey y’all! My name is Julianne and I’m one of the co-leads for the Environmental Justice Collective. I am a third-year student majoring in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability Studies. I joined EJC in Fall of 2021 because I love people and the planet, and EJC’s people-centered approach in sustainability really resonated with me. In my free time, I like to play guitar, pull weeds from my yard, and pet my housemates’ cats 🙂


Anya Gandavadi

Hello! I’m Anya and I’m an Environmental Science Major interested in all things sustainability! Specifically, I am passionate about the intersection between social justice issues and the environmental movement and I’m interested in working with other students to raise awareness and create tangible change on and off campus. In my free time, you’ll find me swimming in the summer, trying a new coffee shop, reading at Pease Park, or at one of Austin’s many concerts!