This Is Auburn


ANNOUNCEMENT: Waste Pickup Changes for Holiday Break

Auburn University Risk Management and Safety will adjust their normal waste pickup routines during the 2018 Auburn University Winter Break. 
Both chemical and medical waste pickups will be suspended through the holiday period (December 20th – January 2nd). 

Any chemical or medical waste generated during this period should be properly containerized, labeled, and stored per guidelines found on the Environmental Health and Safety page of the Auburn University Risk Management website ( ). 

Chemical and medical waste pickups will resume on January 7, 2019 on an as requested basis. 

Pathological waste pickup service will be provided throughout the holiday period on an as needed and requested basis. Pickup requests should be submitted through the AiM work management system ( ). To ensure the timely removal of pathological waste during this period, advance notice should be coordinated through Steven Nolen (334-703-3859) or Billy Cannon (334-703-0419).

If you anticipate the need for service over the Holiday break, please contact Tom McCauley, Environmental Program Manager, at 334-844-4870 so that Risk Management and Safety may best coordinate and accommodate your needs. 

NEWSROOM: City, university unite to clean up Parkerson Mill Creek

Auburn University Risk Management and Safety partered with the City of Auburn for the Creek Clean-Up on Tuesday, November 27th. 


“We’re here to do a creek clean up here at Parkerson Mill Creek between the coliseum area to Lem Morrison bridge which is a good stretch of the stream,” Risk Management and Safety environmental programs manager Tom McCauley said. “We’re looking to clean up all the trash and debris that’s accumulated over the last six months or so; everything that goes onto the streets and into the storm sewers on campus.”

Most of the trash consists of bottles, cans and streamers left by tailgaters setting camp along the creek, and according to McCauley, the entire campus undergoes this transformation.


Read the full story from the Opelika-Auburn News and be on the lookout for the next Creek  Clean-Up Event in February. 

AURMS Presents Safety Training Sessions in August

Auburn University Risk Management and Safety invites you to attend one of four Safety Training Sessions in August. These sessions will cover Laboratory Safety, Biological Safety, and Hazardous Waste Management and are a requirement for all laboratory personnel. The events will be August 22nd at 10:00 a.m., August 23rd at 3 p.m., August 24th at 10:00 a.m., and August 31st at 2:00 p.m. These informative training sessions will be presented by our experienced Safety Specialists, Officers, and Managers. The training sessions are free to attend and will be held at the Center for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Commerce (CASIC) Room 109. CASIC is located at 559 Devall Drive in Auburn at the Research Park. 


Young Water Ambassadors Experience Auburn and Conservation Firsthand


One hundred High School Juniors and Seniors from the Birmingham Area visited and toured the Donald E. Davis Arboretum on Wednesday, July 18, as part of Birmingham Water Works’ Young Water Ambassadors Program. This interactive tour was hosted, staffed, and was a collaborative effort from multiple research and conservation groups at Auburn University: the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, Auburn Risk Management and Safety, Alabama Cooperative Extension Services (ACES) Water Program, Auburn University Museum of Natural History, Auburn School of Forestry of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, and the Auburn University Water Resources Center’s Alabama Water Watch Program.

“This annual partnership with the Birmingham YWA Program positively reflects Auburn University’s collaborative commitment to educate Alabama’s youth.  Alabama is a water and ecologically rich state however with human populations, water pollution and climate variability on the increase these resources more than ever need to be protected,” said Tom McCauley, Environmental Program Manager for Auburn University Risk Management and Safety.

The Young Water Ambassadors (YWA) program consists of students who show an interest in science and environmental studies. The students participate in a six-week summer program that emphasizes the critical importance and preservation of water in Alabama. While at Auburn, the students broke into five groups to get interactive hands on demonstrations, thought-provoking discussions, and exceptional educational presentations. They learned how to monitor water, watershed stewardship, storm water management, sustainability, and unique biodiversity of Alabama’s water ways.

Mona Dominguez, Director of Alabama Water Watch, added “Inspiring young people to consider careers in water related fields directly relates to the AU Water Resource’s Center education and outreach goals. The Young Water Ambassadors Program does an excellent job of exposing students to a wide range of water related fields and thus makes for an excellent partner program for AUWRC. The annual YWA visit provides AU Staff with the opportunity to contribute positively not only to the future of the students, but also to the future of our state.”

Some highlights of the event included a tour of the Arboretum; hands-on activities illustrating the importance of soil quality, clean water, ecological research, and a presentation of some native species of amphibians, crustaceans, plant life, and reptiles for students to touch, interact, and view up-close.

All of these groups, while separate, united together to make this year’s event a success and help encourage these students and others to be positive ecology influencers in their community and help foster an understanding of conservation and preservation for all of Alabama’s natural beauty.


Risk Management and Safety and Alternative Student Break Team Up to Clean Up Parkerson Mill Creek

2018 Parkerson Mill Creek Clean Up

Auburn University Risk Management and Safety (RMS) and the Alternative Student Break (ASB) teamed up to clean the Parkerson Mill Creek on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. Volunteers began the clean-up around the Wellness Kitchen and took time to beautify one of Auburn’s most significant natural resources; ending the clean-up around the McWhorter Center.

“A significant amount of trash was seen in the creek this weekend. Creek clean up events like this are needed to not only remove the trash but more importantly to raise awareness and help the campus community understand how we impact the natural environment around us.  It reminds us all that we can make a difference by properly recycling our waste into the appropriate container so that it does not end up polluting our environment“ said Environmental Program Manager Tom McCauley.

This past weekend served as a reminder that Auburn students, staff, and faculty have a significant impact on the preservation of campus and also take pride in keeping Auburn “the loveliest village”.

McCauley continued, “As witnessed by the ASB team that supported this weekend’s event, students love Auburn and want to become engaged to make a positive impact to place that they hold dear.  With the expertise and energy seen by our faculty, staff and students; Auburn can be a leader in watershed management and natural resource preservation.”

Risk Management and Safety is committed to keeping Auburn safe and clean for all involved with Auburn. There is another Creek Clean-Up event planned for later in the year. Risk Management and Safety will send out reminders for the event when it gets closer to the date.  


Creek Clean-Up Event on Sunday, February 25th

Risk Management and Safety and The Alternative Student Break are hosting a Creek Clean-Up Event on Sunday, February 25th from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm.

The goal of this event is to help preserve one of Auburn University’s best natural resources: The Parkerson Mill Creek. The cleanup will being at 2:00 pm in front of the Wellness Kitchen.

Volunteers are asked to bring responsible and appropriate footwear and prior to collecting, students will be asked to sign a Volunteer Release and Acknowledgement of Risk Waiver, which will be provided the day of the event.

Come help Keep Auburn Beautiful and preserve the future of the campus this Sunday. Email Environmental Program Manager Tom McCauley ( for more information.


Parkerson Mill Creek cleanup lends evidence to importance of keeping campus streams litter-free

“Out-of-sight, out-of-mind” – this might be the best way to describe parts of Parkerson Mill Creek, one of Auburn’s natural resources, hidden by brush, discreetly meandering past the soccer, baseball and football fields and the Intramural Fieldhouse on the Auburn campus. Of course, this might also be the best way to describe the numerous amounts of campus litter that finds a way into the creek, tucked away beneath rocks in the slow-moving water of the creek bed and underbrush on the muddy banks…

Many of the university community walk past Parkerson Mill Creek on a daily basis, in a rush to get to one appointment or another, perhaps vaguely aware of its existence but unaware of the vital role it - and other small waterways just like it – plays in the sustainability of our precious drinking water resources.

This is the main reason Auburn University Risk Management & Safety’s Environmental Health and Safety Department annually hosts an on-campus cleanup of Parkerson Mill Creek for faculty, staff and students. RMS Environmental Health and Safety Technician Michael Freeman has been leading the event for almost 10 years now and has had a longtime passion for maintaining the earth’s water quality.

This year, less than 20 members of the campus community gathered on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and, wearing protective gloves and rubber boots, spent several hours filling more than eight sturdy garbage bags of litter gathered from Parkerson Mill. The clean-up area stretched from the Auburn Wellness Kitchen to the Jane B. Morrison Field. University units typically taking part in the cleanup include Navy ROTC., U.S. Coast Guard AUP, Alabama Water Watch, College of Agriculture, College of Engineering, Greek Life, Honors College, COSAM, Office of Sustainability and AU Facilities Management, among others.

“I just want to see more people on campus interested in this,” said Freeman, who was also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army. “Parkerson Mill Creek is listed as impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for pathogens and sediment load. I feel that it is our duty and obligation to not only clean up the creek, but to also make people aware of the litter that ends up in our waterways from poor management of solid waste.”

“Clean water is a vital component of life, and we must be better stewards of this most precious natural resource.”


Unknown to many, streams play a critical role in providing clean drinking water by ensuring a continuous flow of water to surface waters and by helping to recharge underground aquifers. According to the EPA, approximately 117 million people – one in three Americans – get drinking water from public systems that rely on these streams.

The Parkerson Mill Creek clean-up volunteers collected a number of interesting things from the banks and water that day, including orange and blue pom-poms with their ribbons embedded into the creek underbrush; sunglasses; a decorative eyeball; household cleaning instruments; Styrofoam; and a bale of rusty barbed wire.

Thomas Loxley, a Kentucky native and second-year Auburn graduate student in Biosystems Engineering, was among the volunteers and said, though he had helped with roadway clean-ups in the past, this was his first creek clean up. “I think this is a much bigger deal, and I wish more students would get involved,” Loxley said. “Litter in the water travels further and can have a greater negative impact. This is also a great way to give back to the campus.”

The next creek clean-up event will take place November 2017. For more information about Auburn University creek clean-ups, or to see how you can get involved, contact Michael Freeman at


Mike Freeman
Clean-up host Mike Freeman
finds a bale of rusty barbed wire in
Parkerson Mill Creek.


Student volunteer
Biosystems Engineering grad student volunteer Thomas Loxley looks for litter along the Parkerson Mill Creek.

Thomas Loxley, student



Group volunteers  

Thomas Loxley makes an odd find while gathering litter from Parkerson Mill Creek.

  Volunteers included members of RMS, the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management and Auburn students.  


Media Contact: Kati Burns, RMS Communications & Marketing Specialist  |  334-844-2502  |