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Energy Management department is some
of the most exciting work going on. There
is real potential to partner with local
farmers to build a locally grown fuel crop
to power the campus. We also have an
amazing group of bicycling enthusiasts
whose work has led us to become the first
Bicycle Friendly Campus in the state.
But I’d have to say that the best part
about my job is building and maintaining
relationships – I’m really there to provide
connections among students, faculty, staff
and community members.
Let’s face it – creating a better world
and solving these big challenges will fall
on the shoulders of those in college and
those entering school in the next decade.
These young adults are agents of change
and we have an imperative to teach them
about the principles of sustainability and
get them involved.
What is your biggest challenge toward
reaching the university’s 2020 targets?
2015 is the halfway point for achieving our goals and I’m pleased to say that
we’re on track for the areas where we set
hard targets: energy reduction, renewable energy, waste diversion and carbon-efficient transportation. This is due to
our deep talent across multiple campus
departments and people working relentlessly on these objectives every single day.
But now the hard work starts to keep up
the momentum and continue to find innovative solutions.
One area I’m working on is collaborating with an advisory team for our undergraduate certificate in sustainability. We
are currently looking at ways to expand
classroom offerings and connect students
through service or volunteer opportunities.
Your position is more than facilities
management – how do you collaborate
with your campus counterparts?
My position is technically within Facilities
Management and I report to the Associate
Vice President and Director of Facilities
Management, Don Guckert. I also
work closely with the Provost and the
Senior Vice President for Finance and
From the very start, we made it clear
that the Office of Sustainability is a
campus-wide resource. A big part of my
job is connecting people, finding solu-
tions, reporting our progress and
being upfront about our challenges.
For example, the UI Housing and
Dining department was interested
in reducing organic waste and water
and wanted to install a food pulper.
It was my task to work with them,
write a grant and secure funding. They
installed a pulper in 2012 and it had an
immediate impact on their operations
in terms of reduced water and waste. It
worked so well that we did it again in
2015 for a second dining center.
What do you think has changed the
most about sustainability?
Early on the motivator to be green
was to do the right thing or associate
your brand with sustainability. Now
it’s accepted as a legitimate business
opportunity to control long-term costs.
Because UI manages state assets,
assessing and minimizing the lifecycle costs of our buildings is a serious responsibility. It’s also one that
requires us to pursue sustainability on
multiple fronts, such as incorporating
green design into our facilities, adding
renewable energy sources and diverting our waste.
What advice would you give to
building managers about improving
their sustainability knowledge?
As a practical tip, because things are
changing so quickly, I believe in staying current on sustainability issues. For
example, I devote a certain time every
day, usually early in the morning, to
read about the latest developments.
I would also encourage facility professionals to work with young adults.
Volunteering with a campus group,
offering an internship, or hosting students for a tour of your operations is
time well spent.
The young people who walk through
our doors care deeply about others
and the planet. I always tell people that
if they can’t take another depressing
story about climate change, stop by
our office to see these students working hard and you’ll feel much better
about the future. B
Compiled by Jennie Morton, Senior Editor