University names Carlson sustainability officer
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University President Robert Smith today named Herb Carlson, assistant vice president for construction, design and management, as the senior officer for institutional sustainability initiatives.
"This key leadership position will help the University manage the myriad of current sustainability initiatives and develop a strategic pathway for SRU to successfully implement the President's Climate Commitment that we signed last semester. The University is very fortunate to have someone as qualified as Herb to lead us in this effort," Smith said in announcing the appointment.
Launched in 2007, the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment is a network of signatory schools, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, which have pledged to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education in an effort to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate.
"We are proud of our decades-long greening efforts which have already proven successful. By becoming a party to the President's Climate Commitment, we signified that Slippery Rock University would expand even further its greening and sustainability efforts. We have a 600-plus acre campus with more than 8,600 students supported by more than 1,000 faculty and staff. We must find ways to help reduce the impact the University has on the environment. To that end, we will continue to explore and implement opportunities to reduce greenhouse gasses, reduce and recycle waste and improve efficiencies that lead to a reduction in the University's overall environmental impact," Smith said.
Having a point person responsible for campus sustainability and signing the PCC were two recommendations that surfaced through the Strategic Planning Task Force on resource utilization.
Smith said due to financial and budget difficulties the creation of a new post was not possible, but by calling on Carlson's expertise the goals would be accomplished.
Carlson, who joined SRU in 1990, will serve in a dual capacity, retaining his assistant vice president responsibilities while also heading the sustainability efforts.
"I have been involved in the green movement my entire career and look forward to working with all constituents," Carlson said. "This University has been moving in the direction of energy conservation for years."
Carlson said his initial goals include completing an inventory of the University's carbon footprint and energy consumption to develop a plan for becoming a carbon-neutral campus.
"That means we plan to mitigate our impact on the atmosphere through a variety of processes, including source reduction of carbon, substitution of green energy sources for non-green sources and a reduction of all our energy use."
Carlson said he has been pleased to see SRU students getting involved with greening initiatives. "There has been an on-going interest among students," he said. "There is the Green Fund, Keep It Green and Planet Keepers is another group. We also have our academic community involved in a variety of ways."
"One of the things I've asked Herb to do in this new role is to help coordinate all our current initiatives so that we get the greatest return on our efforts. We have several groups doing similar things and need to bring them together," Smith said. "Having Herb on board was step one. In the next few weeks I'll be inviting the leadership of our current sustainability groups to recommend members for an Institutional Sustainability Commission I'm naming to help us reach our goals."
Before joining SRU, Carlson worked for the University of Maryland in several engineering and architectural capacities. He received his bachelor's degree in architecture and a master's degree in urban studies from the University of Maryland. He is a registered architect and trained as a Continuous Improvement, Leader - Facilitator.
He is a professional member of the Society for College and University Planning, the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
A Slippery Rock resident, Carlson serves as treasurer for the Municipal Authority and has been a planning commission member since 1996.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.