LiveGreen: An enterprise-wide sustainabilty effort

by Anne Rivas, LiveGreen | June 24, 2014

UNMC and the clinical enterprise have created a new position, sustainability manager, that will serve both organizations. Melanie Stewart, currently the Durham Research Center's research resource manager, has accepted the position. Her new role will begin July 1.

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Melanie Stewart
Sometimes, eyes may glaze over when the topic is "sustainability." But what is sustainability, really? Wikipedia says it is "the endurance of systems and processes." Since 1987 it also has meant "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

To Stewart, however, it is anything but boring. To her, "sustainable" means to operate in a way that will allow the organization to be successful now without compromising its ability to meet its needs in the future.

Much more than recycling, "sustainability" involves the judicious use of resources while eliminating waste in organizational processes.

eShop's switch to electronic ordering is a good example of this. The implementation of energy curtailment during hot, humid weather is another good example. By using less energy, we burn less coal which keeps our air cleaner, population healthier, and saves your tax dollars. People, the planet, and the pocketbook are all happy -- and that's sustainability.

Melanie Stewart on sustainability

"Sustainability has been an important focus throughout UNMC and the clinical enterprise for some time, as well as a personal passion for me. I am looking forward to shepherding the combined sustainability efforts of the clinical enterprise as we move forward."

Stewart has been working toward sustainability for years as the volunteer LiveGreen coordinator, first for UNMC and then for the entire clinical enterprise. She has facilitated the LiveGreen Committee, now combined with The Energy Advocate Team.

Accomplishments have included:

  • Reduced overall energy use on campus.
  • LiveGreen Scene lunch and learns highlighting actions employees and students can take to save energy, resources and money at home.
  • Earth Week events, including electronic recycling, personal document shredding and educational activities.
  • Expanded campus-wide metal and plastic recycling, single-use battery recycling and writing instrument recycling, along with initiatives like Flip the Switch and Shut the Sash.

These are commonsense changes, because the clinical enterprise as an organization is trying to promote commonsense habits that many of us were taught as kids -- turn off lights when they're not needed, close the door to avoid heating or cooling the neighborhood, close the blinds to keep cool in summer and open them to the warmth of the sun in winter.

Our culture is shifting, from the common practice of "disposability" to acceptance of responsibility for stewardship (Stewartship?) of existing resources. With this new position, UNMC and the clinical enterprise are right in step.

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Nicole Lindquist
June 24, 2014 at 3:44 PM

So happy for you, Melanie! LiveGreen for life!!

Elizabeth Fiala
June 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Congratulations Melanie, well deserved!

Laura Shafer
June 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

All I know is, if Melanie Stewart is doing the job, it will get done right!

Paula B Turpen
June 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM

This is a great opportunity for you, Melanie! Congratulations! We will work hard to find a research resources manager as capable as yourself!

June 24, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Congrats Melanie, you will do a wonderful job!

Jerrie Dayton
June 24, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Congratulations Melanie! Sustainability being integrated into our culture is so important. Thanks for being a champion of the environment and life!

John Keenan
June 24, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Congratulations, Melanie. You are going to do great things in this position.

Dan Grice
June 24, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Congrats Melanie!