Samuel Boudreau, Editor in Chief
On April 3, 2023 Interim President Wayne Webster announced that Brian Webb was hired as The College of Wooster’s inaugural Director of Campus Sustainability, starting August 1, 2023.
Webb currently serves at Houghton University, a Christian-based university in Houghton, NY, that “provid[es] an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences to students from diverse traditions and economic backgrounds.” Webb currently serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainability within the Center for Faith, Justice and Global Engagement along with being an assistant professor of environmental studies.
His previous experiences include work as a missionary with New Missions Systems International, a missionary and charity organization, from 2001 to 2005, director of intercultural student programs at Houghton College from 2007 to 2012 and director of educational programming at Blessed Earth, “a Christian nonprofit focused on creation care,” from 2010 to 2012. Webb also founded two organizations, Climate Caretakers, a ministry focused on educating Christians about the climate crisis, and Christian Climate Observers Program, an organization that aims “to train, including with a Christian perspective, a new generation of Observers for the Paris Process so that the Church may make the most effective contribution possible to all subsequent [climate observer programs].”
“We are incredibly excited about the experience, knowledge, sheer enthusiasm and track record of success Brian brings to this critically important role on Wooster’s campus,” said Interim President Webster. “He is a proven leader, with the ability to connect across constituencies through unique experiences and insights and help build a shared sense of commitment for environmental stewardship that permeates an institution.”
The College’s sustainability coordinator position originally emerged from one of the College’s five “major recommendations for immediate implementation” in the 2019 Sustainability Plan. The other plans are to form a renewable energy exploratory committee, conduct an external energy audit, create a revolving green fund, incorporate sustainability into campus culture and establish relevant goals.
While students have criticized the College’s enactment of these recommendations, the College received a financial gift to hire a sustainability coordinator in November 2023. Following the College’s reception of the gift, administrative members and students put together a job prospectus and description for the position.
According to the College’s official job description of the position, “The Director of Campus Sustainability provides leadership to promote practices and policies that allow for more sustainable behavior at The College of Wooster.” This broad mission is embodied in the creation of a “Campus Sustainability Action Plan,” a plan whose creation is in the hands of the sustainability coordinator. The plan, as guided by the coordinator, would work with the facilities, campus dining and the city of Wooster to reduce the area’s carbon footprint. Additionally, Webb will be responsible for the maintenance of a sustainability budget, chair the campus sustainability committee and establish a renewable energy exploratory.
Webb is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the New York Coalition for Sustainability in Higher Education. According to his professional webpage, his “research focuses on the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of evangelical Christians on the topic of climate change,” and he is “particularly interested in how evangelicals form their beliefs about climate change, what types of communication techniques can influence their beliefs and how evangelicals compare to other demographics in the United States and around the world.” He holds a bachelor of arts from Berry College and two masters degrees, one from Minnesota State University and the other from Harvard Extension School.