Dynamic duo join Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability

- Melanie Groves

Since assuming their new positions over the summer in the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability, sustainability coordinators Rita Fromholt and Teresa Waddell have worked out a tag-team approach to tackling the extensive range of campus initiatives outlined in the 2009–14 Sustainability Action Plan for Campus Operations. They both bring a wealth of experience and passion to their new roles.

Fromholt was the administrator of the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) at UVic before moving to her current job, where she focuses on sustainability communications and outreach. She brings many years experience with environmental non-profit groups, including Ecotrust Canada, the Suzuki Foundation and UVic’s own Common Energy, and sits on the CRD’s Roundtable on the Environment.

Fromholt’s fall to-do list includes projects related to transportation, purchasing and waste management. Her work involves frequent collaboration with on- and off-campus organizations such as the UVic Students’ Society, the UVic Sustainability Project, Community Green Drinks and the Victoria Car Share Co-op.

Waddell takes on more of the office’s research and reporting functions, particularly on projects related to energy and climate change, green buildings and grounds/storm water. A UVic alumna, Waddell is happy to be back on campus following stints with the Oak Bay Climate Change Task Force and CRD Roundtable on the Environment and CRD Climate Action Program.

She credits a course during her UVic undergrad career with sparking her interest in climate change. “It was an Environmental Studies course on energy, ecology and politics in partnership with the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems,” she says. “Ever since, I’ve been hooked on working to change the way we use energy. In this job I can apply my awareness of the critical challenges we’re facing and get to feel like I’m making a difference. It’s really rewarding.”

Waddell is currently working on the university’s greenhouse gas emission inventory and carbon-neutral action report, a statutory requirement that addresses UVic’s emissions in the areas of energy, paper use, building and fleet operations and actions taken to reduce these emissions. She is also responsible for regular indicator reports gauging the university’s progress on the Sustainability Action Plan.

Both coordinators are looking forward to the first meeting of the Sustainability Advisory Committee, a group of students, staff and faculty who will work together to advise on the implementation and monitor the progress of the Sustainability Action Plan. Other current projects include upgrading campus water fountains to allow the filling of water bottles and improving the recycling program in residences, in collaboration with the Waste Reduction Unit.

“I see ourselves as change agents for sustainability,” says Fromholt. “We don’t need to be experts in green building design or transportation management, but we do have to understand how the pieces fit together in order to inspire positive change on campus. It’s exciting.”

Upcoming events: Sustainability Dialogues speaker series, co-sponsored by Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability and Continuing Studies, Thursdays Nov. 5–26, at www.continuingstudies.uvic.ca.

More info on sustainability at UVic »

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