(Editor's note: In honor of Earth Week, we are sharing an essay by a family that chose Trinity University because of its commitment to sustainability.)

by Jill and Mary Cooper --

In 2013, we were on the circuit tour of university campuses in search for the best match for our daughter. Lindsey always had a passion for the environment and the protection of natural resources, and as her parents, we wanted to foster that appreciation. It quickly became apparent that the campus she chose would not only have to be of high academic quality, but to also be the greenest campus possible.

Our first steps on Trinity University's grounds led us to the stream of recycled water that flowed throughout the middle of campus. As we toured various buildings, Lindsey pointed out the plaques stating LEED certifications. She immediately explained to us that LEED certifications required stringent criteria given to projects that exhibited “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”

Additionally, at every turn we were happy to discover recycling bins next to trash cans for sorting and collecting not only garbage but recyclables. Although not every prospective student and parent probably notices these things, we were immediately drawn to them! Knowing that Trinity supports sustainability issues and is on the forefront of research to advance that study was, and continues to be, most impressive.

Mary Cooper, Lindsey Yazbek, and Jill Cooper celebrate Lindsey's "Unsung Hero" Award.

In Lindsey’s first year she joined SOS (Students for Sustainability) and jumped right into furthering her interests. Promoting the sustainable garden, enhancing recycling issues, and studying geosciences and environmental studies was the perfect trifecta for our “green inclined” daughter. The following year she became co-president of the student organization. We were proud of the direction she took in leading the renamed organization, Eco Allies, with sponsored displays, demonstrations, and work on campus promoting sustainability.

The faculty and staff at Trinity were and continue to be supportive of those efforts as she was given the “green” light on all proposed ideas and requests. Lindsey was even able to work with professors on research with reclaimed and recycled water and its value. The epitome of all that hard work combined with her passion culminated this month when she was named the recipient of the “Unsung Hero Award” in honor of her work in sustainability at Trinity. This most green campus was certainly the best fit for our greenest daughter.

About Jill and Mary Cooper

Jill and Mary reside in Buda, Texas, outside Austin. They have had similar career paths. Both are retired kindergarten teachers from the Austin Independent School District, each with 30 years’ experience in the classroom. Mary is currently employed as an administrative assistant for an aerospace engineering firm in Kyle, Texas, and is also a professional scorer for nationwide student standardized testing. Jill is a part-time tutor in reading and math for fourth and fifth grade students in Austin, and also drives for a local ridesharing company (Ride/Austin) in her spare time.

by Jana Reddoch and Steve Spindel

Earlier this semester, our son, David Spindel ‘20, performed the Great Mozart Mass in C minor with the Trinity University Chamber Singers, the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Choir, and the San Antonio Choral Society at the Tobin Center in San Antonio. He had been anticipating and practicing for this opportunity for months. Of course, we also had great excitement and planned a special trip from our home in Portland, Oregon, to San Antonio to hear him sing.

David played violin through the 7th grade, then joined the school choir in 8th grade. The Upper School choir at Oregon Episcopal School, under the direction of Adam Steele, is small, about 25 students, and locally very successful. The choir advanced to the Oregon School Activities Association state championship each year. David found immense joy and fulfillment singing during the chapel at school, carols and hymns at nursing homes, and challenging technical pieces for local competitions.

David chose to attend Trinity University to pursue sports management, international business, and Spanish studies. After meeting with Jacob Tingle, he felt Trinity has the best to offer. He was thrilled to accept admission.

Additionally, he met with Gary Seighman, conductor of the Trinity University Choir and Chamber Singers. His kind manner and reassurance encouraged David to audition for the choir. Dr. Seighman made it clear that even if David was not planning to major or minor in music, the choir at Trinity wanted him to continue to learn and perform.

Mom Jana Reddoch, David Spindel '20, and dad Steve Spindel
David has had a wonderful time in his first year. Of note, he was very proud of the Christmas Concert and Vespers performances. We were able to live stream the concert on the Trinity Tiger Network. Our family plans to visit one year during the December weekend of these performances. “Oh mom, you would love it, it is so beautiful.”

We have to choose our visits to Trinity carefully, as there are no direct flights from Portland, Oregon, to San Antonio. We knew we would come for Parent’s Weekend, after “the first 100 days” of college, the longest we have gone without seeing him. It was completely reassuring to find him so happy at Trinity. The flight home was not as sad as anticipated.

Trinity student David Spindel at the Tobin Center
David Spindel '20 prepares to perform at the Tobin Center. 

When the date of the Mozart Mass concert was known, we simply had to see such a special performance. Never mind that four tornadoes touched down in San Antonio 15 minutes after our plane landed!

We arrived at the Tobin Center with the sun setting behind the silhouette of palm trees and lights shining on the great pillars of the entrance. It is beautiful! Inside the clean, modern, and elegantly designed interior is a world-class concert hall. The stage filled with members of the three choirs, the orchestra, the soloists, and the conductors. As parents, our hearts swelled and our eyes filled with tears while witnessing our son sing so joyously.

About Steve and Jana

Steve Spindel and Jana Reddoch are physicians living in Portland, Oregon with their daughter Cara, a junior at Oregon Episcopal School. Steve attended New York University. Jana attended the University of Washington. They met at George Washington University Medical School 32 years ago.