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Education & Career Dev.

Sept. 25 - Georgia Southern plans to refocus university sustainability efforts

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 25, 2019 - Building on a decade of success, Georgia Southern University plans to enhance its Center for Sustainability by better pairing it with new academic programs and focusing its resources on larger projects.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carl Reiber has organized a transition team that will spend the next year developing a new roadmap for the center. The group met for the first time this week to begin positioning the Center for Sustainability to lead one of the values in the university’s new strategic plan: Sustainability: Georgia Southern University is a conscientious steward of resources and supports the well-being of students, faculty, staff, and communities.

“Our Center for Sustainability has enhanced our campuses locally and enhanced our reputation nationally,” Reiber said. “We can build on that while meeting a national need for well-educated and trained students in the sustainability disciplines, so we are pairing the center with our College of Sciences and Mathematics to develop a strong academic program in sustainability.”

The center is funded by a student sustainability fee that has supported an array of projects from electric vehicle charging stations to vertebrate biodiversity surveys to bioswale development and LED lighting upgrades. Because of such efforts and a history of programming that has developed a culture of sustainability on campus, Georgia Southern University was included on the prestigious 2018 Green Ribbon Schools list by the U.S. Department of Education for its environmental accomplishments.

In addition to building a better partnership with academics, Reiber said the center has matured to one that should lead high-impact university-wide sustainability efforts. 

“We want student sustainability fee dollars to go further and have an even greater impact,” Reiber said. “We want to be ready in July 2020 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sustainability. Additionally, I would like to develop a proposal for a doctorate focused on coastal sustainability. This will add a suite of high-impact academic programs to Georgia Southern University and will heighten our regional and national profile.”

Reiber said the center’s transition team will be charged with continuing the center’s impact while developing a strategic plan that allows for better coordination and leveraging of university resources with existing university units.

The transition team leading the new strategic plan for the Center for Sustainability includes:

  • Carl Reiber, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Delana Gajdosik-Nivens, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics

  • Lissa Leege, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Sustainability

  • Katie Twining, Associate Vice President for Facilities

  • Kelly Close, Director of Environmental Health and Safety

  • Tiffoni Buckle-McCartney, Environmental and Sustainability Manager

  • Melanie Miller, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

  • Ken Gassiot, Associate Vice President for Student Engagement

  • Jodi Kennedy, Director of Leadership and Community Engagement

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