Sustainability Coordinator eyes future

Michele Crim began work Monday as the new sustainability coordinator at Portland State University. Her job title is new to Portland State; the position was created last year to head a recycling campaign on campus. After an exhaustive search by a committee composed of both administrators and the ASPSU, Crim was named as the person responsible for guiding PSU into the ranks of the environmentally friendly.

The position of sustainability coordinator was created to educate, organize and facilitate all recycling efforts on the PSU campus. Crim’s first goal is to determine exactly how much work needs to be done.

“My immediate goal is to develop a base of information on where Portland State currently rates in recycling. If we can establish some solid background statistics about the current status of the PSU recycling program, we can then identify the specific areas where improvement is needed.” Crim added that by creating a clearer picture as to the current status of recycling it would be much easier to gauge progress and determine how to proceed in the future.

Crim’s last place of employment was with Panasonic in Vancouver, Wash. Her job with the company was to put together environmental management programs, and to monitor effects their business practices had on the surroundings.

While her first order of business is to develop a database of information on current PSU practices, her ultimate goals are for long-term solutions.

“I want to increase the awareness on campus for ecological issues,” Crim said. “I want people to know and understand how our behavior and practices affect both our work and personal life. I want to motivate people to make changes that will impact our community.”

John Sheppard, in a previous interview with the Vanguard, described the position of sustainability coordinator. “We are looking for someone who will provide leadership, education, resources and research on many different levels. We want to be active in waste reduction and working with both faculty and community leaders on this issue.”

Although Monday was Crim’s first day on the job, she claims to already feel at home with Portland State. “I am really excited to start the process. I am excited to work together with the students. The students have already played a key role in this issue. The creation of this position is the result of their hard work.”

Part of the student involvement Crim is referring to may be a letter that was approved and signed by ASPSU Senators in early November. The letter was addressed to whomever filled the position of sustainability coordinator, as it was open at the time. Composed by Student Senator Jeremy Rosenbloom, the letter asks the sustainability coordinator to immediately address four points of concern on campus: the addition of recycling bins, encouraging double-sided printing, reuse of one-sided documents and paid student positions to help facilitate the entire process.

Rosenbloom, a senior majoring in international studies, has been a key part in the student effort on campus. He has volunteered on many occasions to sort garbage from recyclables, and is part of a student task force aimed at improving the recycling habits of both students and faculty here on campus. “I really hope the sustainability coordinator can maintain the momentum on campus.”