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Hiring a sustainability coordinator: what it means, how it’s funded

November 21, 2013 at 7:14 am

As you may have heard (we mentioned this in an earlier installment of From the Middle), the college is seeking a sustainability coordinator. But what does that mean, exactly, and how did the idea for the position come about? How will it be funded? Below, Dean and Provost Ann Davies explains.

Through the initial support of a gift from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Beloit College will hire a sustainability coordinator to facilitate vision, planning, and ongoing support for sustainability efforts across the college’s curriculum, residential life, campus operations, and community partnerships. The successful candidate for the position will begin work at Beloit early in the spring semester.

The concept for the sustainability coordinator position arose from a faculty-led initiative to coordinate and amplify sustainability programming on campus through the development of a Pathways to Sustainability Leadership program. The program seeks to embed sustainability in the liberal learning of Beloit students and prepare our graduates to exercise environmental leadership in their careers through the development of expertise and individual capacity for action around sustainability.

By linking learning opportunities with campus operations, residential living, and work within the greater Beloit community to implement solutions in pressing areas of sustainability, the sustainability leadership program seeks to promote sustainable living more broadly and deeply throughout our community.  The new sustainability coordinator will facilitate the close collaboration of faculty and staff across all dimensions of the program -- organizing and promoting activities, integrating sustainability themes into the curriculum, generating enthusiasm for sustainability efforts, mentoring students, initiating and assessing changes in operations, and fostering partnerships with community and regional partners.   

Foundation support and other gifts to the college will support this position in its first five years. Over the longer term, the work of the coordinator is expected to achieve savings through efficiencies in operations that will continue to support the position, and we expect that the sustainability program overall will continue to attract support from foundations and other friends of the college. The sustainability coordinator will work closely with an interdisciplinary and interdivisional Steering Committee that includes faculty and residential life and facilities staff, with faculty and staff who offer courses, programs, and advising that develop sustainability leadership, and with a Hall Director, who will help to lead sustainability education in our residential communities.  A Revolving Loan Fund originally established by the Classes of 2011 and 2012 will provide initial capital needed to implement projects that reduce the college’s environmental footprint.