Ohio University

OHIO’s Office of Sustainability announces Sustainability Hub Coordinators

OHIO’s Office of Sustainability announces Sustainability Hub Coordinators
Published: January 29, 2019 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability has announced the faculty coordinators who will lead each of the University’s Sustainability Hubs.

OHIO’s Sustainability Hubs effort, which is currently comprised of three subgroups that will focus on “Sustainable Infrastructure,” “Sustainable Administration” and “Sustainable Living,” are part of the University’s campus-wide restructuring plan to elevate sustainability efforts within every college, department and division.

“One of OHIO’s strategic priorities is to create a more sustainable ecosystem within each of our colleges, divisions and departments by leveraging our campuses as laboratories for innovation,” said President Nellis. “This spring, the University’s Sustainability Hubs will engage staff, faculty, students and community members and help lead initiatives that will further our institutional commitment to environmental, social and economic well-being.”

Hub participants can connect with the campus community and learn more about OHIO’s sustainability efforts by signing up for a bi-weekly newsletter, reaching out to Hub Coordinators and Office of Sustainability staff and attending a new monthly sustainability seminar series.

The following faculty coordinators have been chosen to lead OHIO’s Sustainability Hubs:

Sustainable Infrastructure Hub
Dr. David J. Bayless, Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering within the College of Russ College of Engineering and Technology, has been at OHIO since 1995 and holds numerous university leadership positions, including Director of the Robe Leadership Institute, Director of the Ohio Coal Research Center and Fellow at the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Policy. For the State of Ohio, Bayless serves as Director of the Center for Algal Research and Commercialization at Ohio University as designated by the Ohio Third Frontier Wright Projects Program.

The Sustainable Infrastructure Hub will focus its attention on the sustainability themes of buildings, energy, water and waste. Bayless has proposed a program which will identify and engage faculty interested in incorporating a multi-disciplinary, outcomes-based approach in their courses similar to the existing EcoChallenge program. As part of their coursework, students from different classes will form teams to identify sustainability issues within themes; engage stakeholders for data collection and analysis of potential solutions including their impact on the sustainability triple bottom line of People, Planet and Prosperity; choose a solution, and pitch the idea to the University or local community for implementation.

Sustainable Living Hub
Dr. Theresa Moran, Assistant Professor and Director of the Food Studies Theme within the College of Arts and Sciences, spearheaded the creation of OHIO’s Food Studies program which offers a Food and Society Certificate and seeks to promote an interdisciplinary exploration of the production, consumption, meaning and representation of food. The certificate emphasizes both food culture and food systems and highlights how our food choices have social, cultural, environmental, economic and political implications.

The Sustainable Living Hub will focus on the sustainability themes of food, transportation, grounds and student affairs. Moran is currently leading an initiative to advance OHIO’s institutional procurement of regional food and, on a parallel track, advance the OHIO Student Farm as a site of interdisciplinary and experiential learning.

Moran’s procurement initiative evolves out of her partnership with Community Food Initiatives and Rural Action on the Initiative for Appalachian Food and Culture project, funded by the Sugar Bush Foundation. She established the Farm to OHIO Working Group to map out steps and hurdles for regional food producers to sell to OHIO; to develop a procurement toolkit for small producers; and to refine the definition of “local” purchasing to focus on the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Associate Vice President for Auxiliaries, Gwyn Scott, with senior staff are key institutional members of the working group.

Sustainable Administration Hub
Dr. Ryan L. Fogt, Associate Professor of Geography and Meteorology within the College of Arts and Sciences, came to Ohio University in 2009 after serving as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the National Research Council at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. His current research focuses on climate variability and change, particularly in Antarctica, where he has conducted field work on multiple occasions. 

In addition to teaching, Fogt serves as Director of OHIO’s Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis, which issues Athens forecasts on their website and phone hotline and keeps the community informed of upcoming weather concerns through their Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

The Sustainable Administration Hub will focus its attention on the sustainability themes of climate, procurement, investments, and human resources. Fogt has already outlined an initiative called “Sustainability and Climate Ambassadors” that will train student leaders to advance the reach, mission, and objectives of the Office of Sustainability, while involving additional faculty and staff who teach sustainability-related courses, conduct sustainability research, or who have a passion for advancing sustainability across campus and more broadly across southeastern Ohio.

Each year during fall semester, Sustainability and Climate Ambassadors anticipate to focus on advancing sustainability and climate literacy and action across OHIO’s campuses through targeted outreach and programs. During spring semester, the Ambassadors will shift their focus to the community by extending sustainability and climate literacy into regional primary and secondary schools to provide critical knowledge on climate change and its impact, and share ways in which each of us can help to reduce our carbon footprint.

Ohio University has continued to enhance its national position as a leading-edge learning laboratory for sustainability. In the past year, OHIO has been named a Bicycle Friendly University for the first time and a Tree Campus USA for the second time in a row; in May 2018, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Ohio University the first in the state to receive the Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Platinum Award, the top environmental stewardship award in the state. The University also continues to rank high on the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University list.

For additional information regarding OHIO’s sustainability efforts, please visit: https://www.ohio.edu/sustainability/