By Kamilah Roberts

President Cabrera and First Lady joined (from left) Thiago Esslinger, College of Sciences undergraduate student; Atticus Lemahieu, Environmental Engineering undergraduate student; and Anne Rogers, Office of Campus Sustainability Associate Director, to present the Student Sustainability Champion Award.

In order to recognize students for their leadership in sustainability, The Office of Campus SustainabilityCenter for Serve-Learn-SustainGeorgia Tech Global Change ProgramStrategic Energy InstituteAtlanta Global Studies Center, and Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business have partnered together to co-sponsor the inaugural Student Sustainability Champion Award. This new student award was presented during Georgia Tech’s week-long Earth Day celebration, centering on the Institute Strategic Plan and Earth Day celebration theme, “Amplify Impact”. A Student Sustainability Champion amplifies impact through inspiration, action, and the achievement of sustainability goals. The award application is open to all Georgia Tech students who demonstrate sustainability leadership with a lasting impact on campus culture and institutional sustainability progress.  

2021 Winners 

This year President Ángel Cabrera along with the Office of Campus Sustainability Associate Director, Anne Rogers presented the Student Sustainability Champion awards to Thiago Esslinger, a third-year College of Sciences undergraduate student, and Atticus Lemahieu, a third-year Environmental Engineering undergraduate student.  

Left: President Cabrera with Student Sustainability Champion Award recipient, Thiago Esslinger
Right: President Cabrera with Student Sustainability Champion Award Honorable Mention, Atticus Lemahieu


“This year we had so many exceptional students nominated that we expanded the award to recognize two students for their contributions. We selected a Student Sustainability Champion Award Winner and an Honorable Mention.”

Anne Rogers, Associate Director for the Office of Campus Sustainability

The inaugural Student Sustainability Champion Award went to Thiago Esslinger. Thiago is President of Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS), a student organization dedicated to promoting the awareness and implementation of sustainable practices. He is also the Residential Sustainability Engagement Assistant leading the EcoReps sustainability ambassador program for Resident Advisors and co-founded the student action groups Fridays for Future GT and GT Divestment from Fossil Fuels.  

The Student Sustainability Champion Honorable Mention award was gifted to Atticus Lemahieu. Atticus is the Co-President of the Association of Environmental Engineers and Scientists where he has worked on events and programming around equity, inclusion, and environmental justice and is an inaugural member of Georgia Tech’s EcoReps program. He also works with Serve-Learn-Sustain and helped create the UN Regional Center of Expertise Greater Atlanta Youth Network to promote sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals across 10 universities in the greater Atlanta area.  


“Thiago and Atticus model the behaviors we all hope for in our current and future students. They embody sustainability through inclusive leadership and passion to leave behind a better campus.”

Dr. Kim Cobb, Director of the Global Change Program

Thiago and Atticus have gone above and beyond in their dedication to sustainability at Georgia Tech. Dr. Kim Cobb, Director of the Global Change Program, summarized how Georgia Tech students inspire and demonstrate sustainability leadership: “Thiago and Atticus model the behaviors we all hope for in our current and future students. They embody sustainability through inclusive leadership and passion to leave behind a better campus.”  



The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 40,000 students, representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning.

As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.