Tiffany White has returned to the university 14 years after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History to serve as the Program Assistant for the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) and the Office of Sustainability. White took up the position in February after spending three years working with Earth Day volunteers for PEANC.
Her master’s degree in Historic Preservation and more than a decade of work with community sustainability organizations in Vermont and Winston-Salem have qualified her to handle the challenges of helping to develop a fledgling sustainability movement.
“There was no sustainability movement to speak of when I was an undergrad, no recycling, nothing,” White said. “The climate couldn’t be more different now, but it’s still very different from the sustainability movement in Vermont – it is much less established and more grass-roots reliant.”
There are benefits and challenges to this grass-roots reliance, according to White. “You can affect a lot of change when you get in on the ground floor. On the other hand, you encounter inherent challenges when trying to build a community around these ideas.”
White serves as the face of the university’s sustainability movement. She greets visitors to the office with a smile and answers questions about the many programs on campus with ease. She has also assumed responsibility for the Green Team Network after the graduation of the two Green Team Interns, Josh DeWitt and Katherine Sinacore, in May.
While much of her work with the Sustainability Office involves students, staff and community members, White engages with the faculty through her work with CEES. “A lot of my job (with CEES) involves getting information out to the wider public about the amazing things that our faculty are doing related to sustainability,” White said. “Our faculty is fantastic and they are doing projects that are top notch.”
Though White looks forward to many of the programs in the upcoming year, she is particularly looking forward to working with the new class of sustainability interns. “One of the reasons I was interested in this position is the opportunity to work with and influence students who are going to go out in the world to promote sustainability and make our communities better,” she said.
By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern