The sustainability coordinator position remains vacant following Amy Elvidge’s resignation in July. A senior visual and media arts major and an employee from the Office of Marketing temporarily occupy the role.
Elvidge left Emerson after three years for a director-level position in dining services at Boston University so she could focus more on food sustainability. Duncan Pollock, assistant vice president of Campus Services & Facilities, divided her former responsibilities amongst part-time employees Carrie Cullen, who minors in environmental studies, and Senior Copy Editor for the Office of Marketing Nancy Howell.
“The role at Emerson was much broader, and I kind of wanted to move back into food,” Elvidge said in a phone interview. “There is so much potential to make an impact in terms of climate change around food.”
The official job description of sustainability coordinator includes co-chairing the sustainability committee alongside Pollock and works with student environmental organizations to promote campus awareness of the college’s effect on the environment, according to the Office of Human Resources.
The sustainability committee is made up of Emerson staff, faculty, and seven student interns formally known as eco-reps. Once the Office of Human Resources releases applications for students this semester, sustainability interns will take over Elvidge’s former responsibilities to alleviate some of the workload from Cullen and Howell’s shoulders, according to Pollock.
Pollock said a new coordinator should be hired by the end of October or early November. He said the search for a new coordinator officially closed and left him with 50 candidates to interview.
“We are looking for someone to work closely with the students,” Pollock said.
The Office of Human Resources conducted the job search and advertised for the position on the Emerson website and other job-searching websites like Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.
Cullen was in her second year as an eco-rep before she undertook the responsibilities of sustainability coordinator and now works 12 hours a week.
Pollock said the wages for both Cullen and Howell have not yet been decided. According to Emerson’s sustainability webpage, interns work 5-hour weeks for $11 an hour.
Cullen, while being a full-time student, also works as a digital media coordinator at a nonprofit called Our Climate.
”It is really important we all take action in not falling behind and whoever comes in kind of having to pick up the weight and carry all of this,” Cullen said.
Howell’s new obligations include setting up meetings for the committee and managing the Food Cam located in Piano Row. Howell worked as a sustainability committee member for the last five years.
”The workload hasn’t changed very much for me,” Howell said.
Before her resignation, Elvidge led several initiatives, such as the Food For Free plan and the Climate Action Plan, that Cullen said she and the sustainability committee will try to continue in Elvidge’s absence.
The Food for Free plan takes safe, edible leftovers from the dining hall to food banks throughout Boston. The Climate Action Plan is a long-term initiative to achieve climate neutrality at the college by 2030 through gradual, sustainable energy-efficient steps.
Pollock said Cullen and the sustainability committee will also have to make certain that Emerson follows the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a signed agreement that challenges the college to strengthen its campus climate action.
The committee is currently finding ways to facilitate better communication with the student body. One of these ways is for the group to make more of a presence at Emerson events, according to Cullen.