[Ok-sus] OU Daily: Boren implements new position to increase environmental sustainability

Eric Pollard ewpollard at gmail.com
Fri Apr 11 15:14:20 UTC 2014

Boren implements new position to increase environmental sustainabilityOU
President David Boren announced Thursday the university will post a staff
position for a new environmental sustainability officer to coordinate with
student groups and further green initiatives.

Facilities Management director Brian Ellis will oversee the new
environmental sustainability and energy conservation officer. Students
involved in environmental groups have been advocating for a central
position to improve coordination between the wide range of campus programs.

Whoever takes the position will identify, collect, communicate and
incorporate energy conservation and sustainability efforts into campus,
Ellis said in an email.

The new position will let environmentally conscious students better share
information and volunteer opportunities, said Jessica Scott, Geography and
Environmental Sustainability Club president.

Scott said she's impressed with how closely administrators have listened to
student concerns. However, Scott still plans to submit a document she has
been drafting with other campus environmental leaders, which specifies to
administrators the benefits of the new position.

Ellis said he and his management team will select the new sustainability
officer, but students won't participate in "the university's legal process
for hiring." However, Ellis said his team will seek out a candidate who
will work closely with student-advocacy groups.

The primary criteria for selecting their candidate include his/her ability
to measure and verify sustainability initiatives, analyze the financial
impact on university operations and communicate victories to the community,
Ellis said.

Alex Lyakhov, environmental sustainability graduate student, harbors some
concerns about the hiring process for the new position, but he said he
remains cautiously optimistic.

"I'd like the process of hiring this sustainability coordinator to be
transparent so that students, staff and faculty have some input," Lyakhov

Lyakhov said he hopes to discuss the students' ideas with Boren and Ellis
to ensure the university's resources align with student programs.

Earth Rebirth founder Andrew Sartain said he's not overly concerned about
how the university will fill the new position, but he said officials should
find a candidate qualified to handle the diverse range of responsibilities
and set a high standard from the start.

OU was recently recognized as the U.S. university with the "most
widespread" student groups devoted to environmental sustainability by
NerdScholar, a prominent informational

"Sustainability touches every aspect of university life, from our campus
economy and long-term business plans to the environmental and social
implications upon future generations," Ellis said.

In keeping with a resolution recently passed by the Student Government
Association's Undergraduate Student Congress, the university will also
acquire and put in place water filtration stations in 10 buildings across
the Norman campus so students can refill water bottles and reduce waste,
according to a press release.

"We're ecstatic," Sartain said. "We're really just excited to see where we
go from here."

Eric W. Pollard
C: (918) 290-9905
Twitter <https://twitter.com/#%21/ewpollard>
Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/ewpollard>
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