New Sustainability Director Aims to Enhance Campus Culture
New Director of Sustainability Colleen McCormick — the campus’s first — is taking a fresh look at some of UC Merced’s oldest ambitions, including the Triple Zero commitment.
She joined the campus Dec. 1, coming from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, where she served as the director of the Office of Sustainability for 3 1/2 years.
McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s in public health, so it’s easy to see how she wound up leading sustainability efforts.
McCormick is familiar with what it takes to communicate sustainability goals and achievements and get the entire campus community involved, and is looking for new avenues for communicating, including social media, mass media and innovative new programs.
This year, she’s working with campus partners to develop a strategic plan that will identify and prioritize campus sustainability goals and action items, a submittal for the sustainability reporting tool AASHE STARS, and further engage students and faculty members in sustainability efforts.
She and her husband, Ryan, just bought a new house for their family, which includes two children, Shane, 10, and Erin, 6. She enjoys local food, bike riding and hiking, and is a self-professed "concert junkie" who loves a variety of music but favors reggae played live.
What drew you to UC Merced?
The opportunity to contribute to and expand upon the amazing sustainability efforts taking place on campus and the Triple Zero goals.
Explain what your job entails.
Developing communications and building collaborations among faculty members, students, staff members and community partners in an effort to engage and advance sustainability initiatives on campus and in the Merced community.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face at work or that you anticipate, and how do you plan to tackle them?
Expanding the culture of sustainability so members of the campus community and the Merced community incorporate sustainable mindfulness and actions into their daily lives. I will pursue this through outreach, relationship building and developing collaborations.
What are you most looking forward to, workwise, in 2015?
Meeting and getting to know students, faculty members and staff members, along with members of the Merced community. I am looking forward to collaborating with Jason Souza to bring a farmers market back to campus, expand the current gardening efforts and contribute to the Global Food Initiative.
What do you want people to understand about your job and your department?
It takes more than just a village — it takes a community to pursue these efforts and to attain our goals. Sustainability is a broad concept that includes the many climate change challenges before us. My job extensively involves cultivating partnerships and collaborations to pursue developing a culture of sustainability.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
I am an avid bowler and have participated in a bowling league for several years.