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Office of Sustainability looks forward to Earth Week

Houston’s oil and gas industry is what put the city on the national radar, so UH’s Office of Sustainability has major reason to encourage students to be conscious of their impact on the environment. Program manager and UH alumna Sarah Kelly is leading the effort to lessen UH’s environmental problems and reduce its carbon footprint.


UH Earth Week starts tomorrow, and alumna and Sustainability Office Program Manager Sarah Kelly is one of the heads behind the 9-day program. | Mitchell McCluskey/The Cougar

“What motivates me is that this is where I graduated — this is very important to me,” Kelly said.

Kelly said she knew exactly what she wanted to do after she graduated: have a career in sustainability.

“I felt like I needed to do more to give back to society and that I could make a real impact,” she said, “I want to make an impact — not only on campus, but in the bigger picture.”

In March 2014, Kelly was hired as the sustainability program manager. Their primary objective, Kelly said, is to “engage people in sustainability initiatives, projects, help educate them about sustainability problems and make improvements on campus.”

In 2008, UH received a grade of D for campus sustainability from the Sustainable Endowments Institute. Upon entering the position, Kelly’s priority was to change that rating.

The Sustainable Task Force was appointed to enact initiatives that would help UH boost its sustainability rating, including the creation of the community garden located outside of Cougar Woods, tray-less dining halls and the addition of 300 outdoor recycling bins.

UH Earth Week tops the list of activities and programs the Office of Sustainability is running this year to get UH students and faculty involved in making campus greener. A 9-day program starting Friday and ending April 26, UH Earth Week includes outdoor hiking, volunteer events and discussions, all of which pertain to how UH students can develop sustainable habits.

“It’s an opportunity for departments on campus to showcase what they’ve been doing in a way that they think would engage people,” Kelly said.

UH Earth Week is an effort to spark conversation about the environment and to provoke positive change.

“For me, it’s all about connecting to people on that individual level and finding the spark that will make them change the way they think about how they live and how they interact with the environment,” Kelly said.

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