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Office of Sustainability Practices will have new director

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Posted on December 11, 2018

Grand Valley's Office of Sustainability Practices will undergo staffing changes as it marks its 13th year on campus.

Norman Christopher will leave the university and his role as inaugural executive director at the end of December. Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, announced Yumiko Jakobcic will assume the role of director beginning January 1. Jakobcic has served as campus sustainability coordinator since 2014.

Hiskes said during Christopher's tenure, he has guided sustainability on campus to become one of the university's core values, embedded in the curriculum and co-curriculum. 

"When he started in 2005, the concept of sustainability was poorly understood and somewhat compartmentalized," Hiskes said. "From an initial staff of one, the Office of Sustainability Practices now has a staff of four, several interns, and an army of enthusiastic, collaborating students, faculty and staff members."

Under Christopher's guidance, Grand Valley was the first Michigan college to achieve gold status from the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education’s institutional self-reporting STARS system, and the Sierra Club has recognized it as one of the nation's greenest college for six consecutive years. In October, Christopher was induced into the West Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame.

Jakobcic earned a bachelor's degree in natural resources management from Grand Valley in 2006 and a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University. She is in the process of earning a doctoral degree in natural resources from the University of Vermont.