Double majoring in Geography and Ecology was never something Cody Kimpton had in mind for himself until UNT hosted a climate march on campus.
In 2019, the Student Government Association hosted a climate march, which Cody attended, with the intention of bringing awareness to the impacts of climate change and showing people how to stop its effects. The march and his love for the environment solidified his motivations of wanting to make a real change in the world.
He became a member and the committee chair for the We Mean Green Fund - a student-funded resource created to support environmental sustainability projects developed and led by students, staff and faculty. Since Fall 2020, he has helped the committee fund $200,000 toward environmental projects across UNT's campus and its surrounding community. Some of these projects include the maintenance of the UNT community garden, restoration of UNT's Pecan Creek Pollinative Prairie at Discovery Park and even an environmental justice musical.
Cody began his college career as a Biology major, but switched to Geography and Ecology when his interests shifted more toward researching the well-being of plants and trees, as well as the impact of climate change on future generations.
For the past year, his research focused on how COVID-19 affected visitation at national parks, as well as studying how much pollution is on campus by examining leaves from campus trees.
Recently, Cody and other members of the We Mean Green Fund were asked by the Texas Trees Foundation to visit a Dallas elementary school to conduct research on environmental tree pollution, its proximity to children and any related effects.
"I enjoy being able to know I am doing something to help the community and the Earth in general," Cody says.
As the committee chair of the We Mean Green Fund, Cody has had the opportunity to grow as a leader, person, researcher and scientist. Being a part of this committee has allowed him to realize what he wants to continue doing with his life.
"I want to be a person who can educate people and still continue to learn throughout my life," Cody says.
After graduation, he plans to establish himself in a career that concentrates mostly in education but in a non-traditional way. Instead of teaching in a classroom, he wants to become an interpretive forest ranger or a museum technician - jobs that allow him to teach people about the Earth while having the opportunity to work with educational programs.
"Put yourself out there and try new and different things," Cody says. "Get involved and don't worry about what other people think of you."