Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass names new sustainability coordinator

After about a month of working as the University of Massachusetts’s sustainability manager, Ezra Small feels he is “settling in” on campus.

With the start of the new bike share program last week, he is ready to move on to other projects.

“I‘ve been kind of thrown in to the fire a little bit because there were a lot of initiatives going on that needed to be followed through on and continued that I wanted to make sure happen,” said Small.

An alumnus of the university, Small is dedicated to working with the students – a resource he credits the university’s success in environmental planning to – to create new green programs and initiatives on campus.

“The energy has really come from the students wanting and demanding that these programs be on campus,” said Small. “When the students show that they want and care about something, then everyone has to follow because this university is here for the students.”

In his new position, Small will be working mostly with the student groups that are already a part of the campus sustainability initiative which includes the chancellor’s Environmental Performance Advisory Committee, the EcoReps and the student intern program within the sustainability offices.

He hopes that through education and regularly examined programs, UMass can continue to improve. UMass is currently ranked a “gold” school by the Sustainability and Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, a distinction only 27 schools can claim. While there is a platinum rating, no schools have earned it to date.

“We could get platinum, but we are far off and there is a lot of work to be done,” said Small.

Two areas Small plans to focus on are composting and the way buildings are used.

While campus eateries use compostable wares, according to Small, not all of the eateries are recycling.

“If the students have no way to compost them, then they are going in the trash, and I have seen that happening in a couple of places,” said Small. “We can divert a lot more waste, food and materials, from our waste stream to be sure.”

In addition to making recycling more accessible, Small hopes to create more of it in the dorms by creating a program with housing that incentivizes recycling.

Another area the he sees as needing improvement is the energy efficiency of the buildings. According to Small, many of the buildings both old and new are not performing well.

“It is not just how the building is structured, but how we use the building,” said Small.

To help fix the problem of how buildings are used, Small plans on installing sensors that will turn off lights or turn off the exhaust in the vent hoods in laboratories when they have not been used for a while.

Small, who considers himself to be an environmentalist, believes that while it is a lot of work, it is necessary.

“We are the passenger and the captain off this big ship, and we don’t have any other option than to continue to live on this planet and to conserve resources for the next generation,” said Small.

Before working at UMass, Small worked for the Delaware Valley Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. In the position, he collaborated with “people in all ends of the green building realm,” including engineers, architects, developers and construction workers to advocate for green building projects.

A native to Massachusetts, Small was excited to apply for the job after his wife finished her schooling in Philadelphia.

“I saw it as a great opportunity for me,” Small said. He completed his graduate work in environmental education with a concentration in education and communication from UMass in 2007.

Small’s latest project will be taking place during Campus Sustainability Week, which is Monday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Oct. 28. The week will feature a fair, films, food and music that teach sustainable practices.

Small is replacing Josh Stoffel who resigned last semester.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected].


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