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URI Green Thinker

Rachel Sholly

Position:  Assistant Director
Department:   URI Outreach Center
Hometown:  Providence, RI

What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability goes beyond protecting the environment for the future.  It’s also about social equity and economy.  These three "E’s" are inherently connected and it’s easy to forget that. 

Which URI project or program related to sustainability should we be the most proud of?
I think we should be proud of every step we take towards campus sustainability – from our recycling program, to our LEED buildings, to our student organizations.  One of the key components of continuing this progress is the work of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  The Council represents a long-term institutional commitment to implementing significant sustainability measures.
How are you involved with campus sustainability at URI? 
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to stay involved with campus sustainability at various levels.  My favorite experience was leading a group of undergraduate and graduate Energy Fellows to draft URI’s Climate Action Plan.  I also try to help students who want to do campus sustainability projects brainstorm and connect with the right people.

What can URI do to be greener?
It’s important to make campus operations as sustainable as possible, but URI can have an impact beyond its physical walls by incorporating more sustainability into the curriculum.  We need to recognize the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability by offering more classes that relate it to disciplines like business, engineering, sociology, journalism, etc.  We should also install a couple of electric vehicle charging stations!

What do you do in your personal life to be green?
I try to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of my life and every decision I make. Transportation is one of my big sustainability successes.  I’ve been riding RIPTA for the past 6 years and I just bought a diesel car, which will run partly on biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil.  I also make sure to vote for politicians that support sustainability policies.

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