Sullivan Award winner focuses research, leadership efforts on sustainability

Geography major Claire Windsor has turned a passion for creating a sustainable world into action throughout her four-year career at South Carolina.

A native of Travelers Rest in the South Carolina Upstate, the Honors College student founded and facilitated the Student Council on Sustainability and served on both the sustainability and academics committees as a Student Government senator, where she helped pass 25 pieces of legislation.

“From my first semester at Carolina, I was determined to be a change-maker focused on campus sustainability initiatives,” Windsor says. “I translated my ideas and solutions into concrete actions once I joined Student Government as a senator. I collaborated throughout campus to transform my legislation into the changes we envisioned.”

A winner of the Pastides Sustainability Award and the Outstanding Achievement and Student Triumph Award, Windsor also received the university’s top leadership award, The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, for 2022. The award, established by the New York Southern Society in 1926 and is given in recognition of character at 72 colleges and universities across the country, is presented to the most outstanding male and female graduate each year.

From my first semester at Carolina, I was determined to be a change-maker focused on campus sustainability initiatives.

Claire Windsor

Windsor’s sustainability efforts extend to her research, including working as an assistant for professor Conor Harrison's research project to investigate the history of energy utility regulation and the role of financial analysts on utility decisions. She also won a Magellan grant to investigate the city of Columbia's climate protection history and an Honors College research grant to investigate Richmond, Virginia's clean energy planning and legislation for a case study comparison with Columbia.

Windsor also works to help students make better environmental — and health — choices. She has mentored many individuals through the Sustainable Carolina Leadership Program and Eco Reps, which both promote sustainability across campus. She also founded and served as president of the Gamecock Cycling and Triathlon Club, where she helped train cyclists and triathletes for races across the Southeast.

“Through my leadership and passion for an improved student experience and impact, I became a voice for change in advisory committees and student leadership roles,” Windsor says. “For example, my advocacy and collaboration led to more bike racks and repair stands on campus.”

Additionally, she is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

“Throughout my four years, I fulfilled my potential as a leader and change maker by connecting with other leaders, determining my goals, and accomplishing lasting change on campus. As I reflect on my experiences, I know that I will leave behind a legacy of advocacy and leadership for a more sustainable future.” 

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