Meet a Tiger: Gary Gaulin
This Tiger helped to start the campus Solid Green movement, raising awareness of campus litter, recycling, energy and water conservation and other environmental issues. After 34 years of service to Clemson, he plans to focus on quality time with his family.
Title: Associate director for sustainability
Years at Clemson: 34
What I do at Clemson: I’ve been through many jobs in my time at Clemson, but now as the associate director for sustainability within the University Housing & Dining department, I work to educate, collaborate, promote, sponsor events, programs and activities — all this as related to the three pillars of sustainability (social justice, environmental stewardship and economic prosperity).
What I love about Clemson: For me, what I really love about Clemson is the people. There are so many interesting people that I have met over the years. I realize that my purpose in being here is to serve others, so when I get a sense of appreciation from others for the services that I provide — I love that too! We all need some affirmation occasionally, right?
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’m most proud of having helped the Solid Green movement get started on this campus. About 10 years ago, I got really interested in environmental stewardship. I was able to serve on the Clemson University Environmental Committee and helped to start the Solid Green Committee, which later became known as the Solid Green movement. I learned a lot from students and got connected to a student organization called Students of Environmental Awareness. I’ll never forget the day that I went out to Hartwell Lake with them to pick up litter. Near the end of our time working, the student took out a big tarp and dumped all that we had collected onto it. We then picked out all the recyclables and deposited them into recycle bins on campus. Wow! I thought picking up the litter was good enough, but they taught me to take the extra step. Since then, whenever I’m involved with litter pick-ups, we always take the time to recycle. I’m so proud to have been involved with that!
Where I see myself in five years: I’ve been with Clemson for 34 years — and it seems to have gone by very fast! I see myself having much more time to spend with my family and friends. Hopefully, spending more time on the lake, staying active and enjoying each other’s company. My daughter Paige and son Vince are both in their 30’s now, they are married and on their own. Paige and her husband, Tyler, have blessed us with two sons of their own. Becoming a granddaddy has become a whole new identity for me and having two grand kids to give all my love to has been a great joy, as well. I like to think of it like paddling a kayak down a mountain stream or river. You never know what is coming around the next bend. That is the way that I feel about my retirement this December. I’m wondering what is around the next bin. It is rapids or perhaps a waterfall? It’s probably flat water, but I’ll still be paddling!
Last thing I watched on TV: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but I want people to know that I’m also more cultured than that, so I’d like to add that I went to see the Sound of Music at the Brooks Center and really enjoyed it. I grew up with my mother playing that sound track on the stereo often, so it was very emotional for me.
Guilty pleasure: I really like eating ice cream and most often I do feel guilty about eating it. Occasionally, I’ll have an ice cream sandwich for lunch.
One thing people don’t know about you: That I am sincerely trying to be “my best self.” What they see is sometimes less than that — but I’m still trying, okay? One of my life’s journeys is working to becoming “my best self.” To move in the right direction, I have to become more aware and let go of the bad stuff that the world has taught me.
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