December 14, 2018

Webster searches for head of sustainability

Webster University is currently searching for a new sustainability coordinator. The position has been vacant since former coordinator, Brad Wolaver, left the university in February of this year.

Sustainability Coalition co-chair Caitlin Zera, who worked directly with Wolaver, said without a coordinator for the sustainability program at Webster, the program lacks a united front. She said the lack of a coordinator makes it difficult to continue with initiatives.

“Without a coordinator position there’s not exactly one particular point person,” Zera said. “There’s not really a direct line to sustainability without a coordinator, although there are certainly people working on sustainability things.”

Webster created the coordinator position in response to a previous Delegates’ Agenda topic, a student advocacy system Webster uses to promote cooperation between administration and students.

Former faculty co-chair of the Sustainability Coalition Jeff DePew said the Sustainability Coordinator position is essential to everything sustainability on campus.

“Sustainability is a huge issue, and it cuts across virtually every discipline that we offer at the university. To bridge all those disciplines there needs to be somebody that leads and makes that collaboration and coordination widespread across the university,” DePew said. “This connects all those disciplines, all those courses that are taught, faculty members, staff, administration and students. It’s an essential position that I think is vitally important to Webster moving forward.”

DePew said the person who is hired needs to be able to interface well with all the sustainability facets at Webster and with the community at large. He said the position needs a diplomatic individual who is passionate and had background in sustainability.

Zera, who is heading up many of the initiatives while the coordinator position remains vacant, said without a coordinator, she alone acts as the sustainability executive board.

The coalition held a forum on April 16 to discuss the future of Webster sustainability. Zera said the forum provided an outlet for people to come together and discuss needs of the group.

“I got a great sense of what people need and want,” Zera said. “We didn’t have amazing attendance, but we had people who wanted to talk, and that was very good.”

Zera said filling the Sustainability Coordinator position was one of the main topics at the meeting. Other topics included improving the sustainability website, scheduling regular meeting and creating a newsletter.

Zera said she thinks the group will convene again in the fall and address the issue.

Kavahn Mansouri contributed to this article.

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