Sustainability director’s role takes shape

Lachlan Johnson

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

On Feb. 22 ASWC passed an act renewing the sustainability director position for next year. When it was created last spring, the job of the ASWC sustainability director was purposefully vague. Over the last six months, the first two sustainability directors, sophomores Margo Heffron and Dani Hupper, have worked to define how future sustainability directors will go about connecting environmental groups and facilitating their cooperation.

Heffron and Hupper were elected as sustainability directors on a split ticket last September, with Heffron acting during the fall semester and Hupper taking over in the spring. Next year the sustainability director will be appointed by the ASWC president instead of being elected by the student body.

The Sustainability Summit, which took place on Feb. 25, was the result of Heffron’s efforts to organize a gathering of environmental clubs, and Hupper recently completed work on an ASWC sustainability website that┬áincreases online communication between clubs and the student body.

When she began her term as sustainability director, Heffron knew that she wanted to create a regular social gathering to connect sustainability groups with each other and with the student body. Campus Sustainability Coordinator Tristan Sewell recommended a formal Sustainability Summit based on his experience at other colleges.

“It was something that I recommended they do because it’s something I had seen when I was a student. I thought it was really useful for these clubs, both to interact with each other and to air what they’re up to,” said Sewell.

Next year the sustainability director will be required to put on a Sustainability Summit every semester. The Sustainability Summit is a variation on the ASWC Town Hall which focuses on environmental issues and includes an update from campus environmental groups before beginning discussions.

“While there’s tons of environmental sustainability initiatives going on on campus, there’s not a resource or communal forum that ties them all together,” said Hupper. “We feel the Sustainability Summit is a good way to come back, check in, see what the other clubs are doing and build off of each other.”

In addition to completing the Sustainability Summit and website, Hupper has worked on several other projects this semester. As the liaison between ASWC and environmental groups, she played a large role organizing the upcoming divestment referendum. Going forward, Hupper plans to create a listserv for leaders of environmental groups and monthly meetings to increase cooperation among the clubs. She is also working with a group of physics students to prepare a proposal for the installation of a wind turbine at the northwest corner of the library.

“The purpose of [the turbine] is actually not to generate electricity. We have minimal wind,” said Hupper. “The purpose is more education … so we can take what we learn in class and see it in action.”

While Heffron and Hupper collaborated on the Sustainability Summit, Heffron is going to take a back seat for the rest of the year.

“The Sustainability Summit was my big project that I didn’t have time for last fall, and it really helped that Dani [Hupper] was here and was a good transition project for us.” said Heffron.