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URI Green Thinker

Mary Brennan

Position:  Recycling and Solid Waste Management Coordinator
Department:  Facility Services
Hometown:  Jamestown, RI
What does sustainability mean to you? 
Sustainability to me is thinking long term about the consequences of our actions today.

Which URI project or program related to sustainability should we be the most proud of?
I’m proud of all that URI has done regarding sustainability.  Our students, faculty, and staff have been supportive and enthusiastic about becoming “green.”  The University is committed to building LEED® certified buildings, implementing energy reduction programs, and, most importantly, educating our students about the importance of their impact on our planet.
How are you involved with campus sustainability at URI?
I supervise all solid waste management and recycling at the University.  We work to reduce the amount of waste we generate, re-use what we can, and recycle the remainder.  
What can URI do to be greener? 
URI can be greener once we are able to change institutionalized policies.  The University needs to become “nimble,” to quickly react and make changes that will benefit the earth.  Under present regulations we can’t donate or sell items we no longer need, so we end up sending a lot of useful items to the landfill.  Once we change policies our surplus classroom furniture could be used by non-profit agencies, outdated computers can be “cleaned” of data and used in shelters or job placement agencies, and other unwanted items could be donated or sold.

What do you do in your personal life to be green?
I love to sail, and living on a boat for an extended period of time really teaches you about sustainability. In a self contained world, you become acutely aware of how much you interact with the environment. When you are faced with a limited amount of resources that we all take for granted such as water, electricity, and food, you become more conscious of all your decisions and how they impact the planet.

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