How SLS Helped Me Make My College Decision

March 15, 2018

Atticus Lemahieu is a First Year student currently studying Environmental Engineering. He works as a student assistant with SLS and has taken two SLS affiliated classes. In this blog post, Atticus discusses how SLS impacted his college decision and how he arrived at Georgia Tech.

In my junior year of high school, I started considering which colleges to go to. Growing up in Athens, Ga and wanting to stay in-state for the sake of tuition, I had basically two options: UGA or Georgia Tech. Having had the campus of UGA as my backyard, I had become familiar with everything from UGA students’ favorite coffee shop to some of the most secluded buildings on campus. I knew the campus; I knew the school, and it was a great option. On the other hand, I had relatively no information about Georgia Tech other than it was in Atlanta, it was where all the smart people went, and that it would be a long shot for me to get in. It would seem that my choice would be pretty clear, but it was one of the hardest and most time-consuming choices I've ever had to make.

So back to my junior year. I was pretty involved with, and had always had an interest in, sustainability efforts in my school. I was the liaison between a local nonprofit, Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission, and my school’s Beta Club - a student service organization. The Keep Oconee Beautiful Commission (KOCBC) focuses on promoting sustainable efforts in the local community. At this same time, I was also working with KOCBC on my Eagle Scout project, and I co-founded a club with the goal of beautifying my school’s campus. It was around that time too, while researching Georgia Tech and if it was a good option for me, that I came across Serve-Learn-Sustain. As a high school student with the genuine interest of broadening my outreach of promoting and working towards a more sustainable future and facing the choice of deciding on a college, I reached out and asked if there was anything I could do as a high school student with SLS. I received a response and got to talk to Kris Chatfield on the phone about SLS and was really excited and glad to know that there was an option as great as SLS right down the road. As the year went on and the decisions came out from colleges (spoiler, I got into GT!), I began considering all of my options. Knowing that I wanted to work exclusively towards helping the environment, and having already interacted with SLS, I decided to come to GT. SLS, to me, meant having the option to not only do something I love and was passionate about, but it meant I would have a secure stepping stone into discovering hundreds of other ways I could help the environment, from basic water testing, to learning how a community in New Zealand worked together to create a Living Building.

Now, I work as a student assistant with SLS and help with integrating sustainable education into the school's curriculum. I've been fortunate enough to be a student in two SLS affiliated classes (GT1000 and English 1102), and in each of those classes, I’ve learned things that I would not be able to learn had SLS not been created or had I not heard about SLS as a high school student. I'm excited to see where my future lies and how SLS will play into that.