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This week, The College of Wooster received a financial gift to hire a sustainability coordinator, a major step in the College’s 2019 sustainability plan. “We are really excited to have recently received a gift to launch a Sustainability Coordinator position for our campus,” said Interim President Wayne Webster. “This is a long-awaited role at Wooster and one of the initiatives the Strategic Planning & Priorities Advisory Committee (SPPAC) recommended last spring to help the College realize savings,” said Webster, “particularly as it relates to energy costs, and also to adopt more community sustainability standards.” According to Noah Golovan, President of Scot Council, the administration is currently in the process of developing a job prospectus or description. “In the next couple of weeks, they will be looking for student input to look over said prospectus or description to make sure we are capturing the needs and wants of the campus for this position,” said Golovan. Scot Council aims to involve the Greenhouse club in this process, a longtime advocacy group on campus sustainability. “This is a position that will work across the College and will likely work very closely with the president’s office and others,” said Webster.
Originally developed by the Campus Sustainability Committee, chaired by Susan Clayton, professor of psychology, in 2019, SPPAC included the recommendation to hire a sustainability coordinator in their 2021 sustainable budget recommendation, which former president Sarah Bolton presented to the Board of Trustees in late spring of 2021. In the budget recommendation, SPPAC members wrote that hiring a sustainability coordinator was a “strategically necessary investment.”
“There was also some other language in our recommendations concerning environmental sustainability,” said Tom Tierney, former SPPAC chair, “but those preceded the separate recommendation about the coordinator role.” These other revenue recommendations focused on the pursuit of sustainable energy sources on campus along with sustainable housing units.
Hiring a sustainability coordinator is one of the sustainability committee’s five “major recommendations for immediate implementation” from the 2019 plan. The other plans are to form a renewable energy exploratory committee, conduct an external energy audit, create a revolving green fund and incorporate sustainability into campus culture and establish relevant goals.
Sustainability has been a point of concern for the student body. In a survey of the student body conducted earlier this fall by the Voice, dining sustainability received the lowest reviews from students with a rating of 2.34 out of five stars.
On Oct. 19, Greenhouse Club members Cory Horgan ’23 and Taylor Lynch ’24 expressed their concern regarding the College’s prioritization of sustainability on campus, particularly dining utensils and lights left on in buildings after closing times. “We believe that Wooster can make sustainability a strength, that we can be a leader on this issue,” said Horgan at this year’s sustainability meeting.
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