New Sustainability Coordinator Shares Vision


Brandon Bishop, Sustainability Coordinator. Photo by Henry Honzel.

Eleanor Matson, Staff Reporter

During the past two months a new face has been on campus. The new Sustainability Coordinator, Brandon Bishop, began work this year on the implementation of the Climate Action Plan and on centralizing the sustainability movement on campus.

The Climate Action Plan—approved last spring by the Board of Trustees— is a document that sets up Whitman’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.  It sets forth a mission to have a 50 percent reduction in Whitman’s emissions by 2020, based on the college’s 2013 emissions, and a 100 percent reduction by 2050. The creation of the document was a two year long process carried out by a committee composed of students, faculty and staff.

One of the creators of the document, Internship Coordinator Victoria Wolff, stressed the document’s ability to change overtime as new problems or technologies arrive.

“One of the things to think about when you [write] a Climate Action Plan is that it is a document that is very much alive. Things are going to be changing especially with new technology coming out,” Wolff said. “There is always something new. We will go back to see how we need to readjust and what other resources and new technologies are out there and how will that help us to achieve our goals.”

Bishop’s job will be to enforce the Climate Action Plan and create programs that will help achieve Whitman’s goal of sustainability such as, creating dorm competitions over water usage or electricity usage once the school is able to know each building’s energy usage. He is also working on retrofitting buildings with greener technologies such as LED lights or high efficiency washers. Currently, he is analyzing the renewable energy credits the Board of Trustees purchased last year to offset Whitman’s electricity usage.

Another key element Bishop is working on is creating strategic five-year plans that consist of specific goals in order to accomplish the larger goals for emissions reduction set forth by the Climate Action Plan.

“The Climate Action plan has laid the groundwork of where we want to go but a lot of the definition is missing from that document. Looking at strategic plans every 5 years is going to be critical so we can really excel where we have opportunities,” Bishop said.

Another one of Bishop’s goals is to have an Office of Sustainability with internship possibilities for students which is a goal ASWC Sustainability Director, senior Dani Hupper shares.

Hupper believes that by having an Office of Sustainability, sustainability efforts on campus can become more centralized and easier to access.

“The fact that my position is the highest position a student can achieve, here at Whitman, is sad. We need more positions of leadership, so we can empower students who are interested in sustainability so it is not just clubs… I want [Bishop] to have a department and to not be in the Physical Plant. [He] should be in Reid. We should have a space for sustainability things, a website that keeps everything in one place rather than having AWSC over here and [Bishop] over here and the clubs over there and the non-ASWC clubs in another place.”

Hupper, for one, is looking forward to what Bishop has to offer Whitman, and to working with him this year.

“[Bishop] has a lot of knowledge and the energy to get things done. I think he has a long term vision for sustainability that is very much aligned with mine and I am so happy to leave Whitman knowing he is going to be here fighting the good fight.”