The University of Richmond’s search for a new director of sustainability is in its final stages, with a decision expected to be announced by the end of March, said David Hale, vice president for business and finance.
“We are looking for someone who can really be a leading visionary for sustainability across campus and really be a convener and connector of various groups that are really interested in sustainability from students to staff members,” Hale said. “It’s an interesting job because you really do have to reach out to different groups on campus but hopefully connect them and get people out of their silos.”
The search committee is made up of David Hale, Emilie Rex, the interim director of sustainability, Mary Finley-Brook, a geography professor, Don Forsyth, a leadership professor and chair of the Environmental Awareness Group, Sylvia Gale, the associate director for the Center for Civic Engagement, Todd Lookingbill, a geography and biology professor, and George Souleret, the director of utilities and university engineer. The committee has narrowed the search down to three finalists.
Every candidate is meeting with a group of student stakeholders, staff stakeholders, faculty stakeholders as well as the CCE, Emilie Rex said. Each stakeholder group has had the opportunity to fill out forms to provide their input on each candidate for the search committee, she said.
“Getting that input from everybody who’s participated is really important,” Hale said.
In addition to the meetings with the CCE and stakeholder groups on campus, the three finalists made a 30-minute public presentation on their vision for sustainability at Richmond on three different days in February.
“The director will be responsible for providing visionary leadership and support to the University of Richmond community as it charts a far-reaching course for sustainability and pursues its ambitious climate neutrality goals as part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” according to the job description.
The position, which was posted by the university in November 2014, will report to the vice president for business and finance and will be the only position in the sustainability office. “One of the challenges are, there’s only one person in the office, so we need someone who can come in and be really good at prioritizing what should be done,” Rex said.
“In the past, the model is one person in the office,” Hale said. “But usually there are six student interns who can help with the day-to-day work and initiatives, and that is both great for the university and really beneficial for the students, too.”
Rex, who is also a musician, will be recording music and working on other sustainability projects once she leaves as the interim director, she said.
In the past 12 years, Richmond has made three significant contributions toward increased sustainability at Richmond: The Tallories Declaration of 2003, The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment of 2007 and The Tallories Declaration On the Civic Roles and Social Responsibilities of Higher Education.
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