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Troy Goodnough is first sustainability coordinator

Posted by Judy Korn on Thursday, Sep. 14, 2006


The University of Minnesota, Morris has appointed Troy Goodnough as UMM’s first campus sustainability coordinator. The responsibilities of the newly established position include creating a campus sustainability plan, assisting faculty and students with research, projects, and curricula promoting green building, landscaping, and recycling policies and serving as a resource to the community and to the region.

Goodnough holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is excited about the opportunity to serve in a position that has long-lasting implications, not only for the campus but also for the community, the region and even the world. “It feels really good to do what I think is ‘good’ work,’” stated Goodnough.

“I am optimistic about the future, but I’m concerned, too,” he continued. “Many scholars offer the following statistic: The United States has five percent of the world’s population, but we consume 25 percent of the world’s produced energy. Because we teach critical thinking at UMM, and because the present generation faces so many challenges related to a high consumption world, our leaders will need to creatively plan for the future. I’m proud to make some contribution to that process.”

Goodnough noted that UMM faculty already incorporate “green” thinking into their curricula. His role will be to provide continuing education and information about how others in academia have included sustainability issues in their courses. He will also invite environmental and renewable energy leaders to campus and assist faculty as they develop ideas for new curricula.

Serving as a resource for students will also be a priority for Goodnough. He will assist students with setting up research projects and help them organize presentations and demonstrations on sustainability and stewardship. “Most importantly,” he said, “I want to provide students outlets for action, so they can use their gifts.”

Above all, Goodnough will be seeking opportunities to educate people—students, faculty, staff, local and regional community members—about renewable energy and stewardship. He hopes to help people better understand what “sustainability” means. His favorite definition comes from the 1987 Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Goodnough reflected: “When people grasp this meaning, especially, ‘common-sense Minnesotans,’ it makes sense. No one wants to jeopardize the future of our children and grandchildren.”

While projects such as the UMM and West Central Research and Outreach Center wind turbine project and gasification system partnerships will be major topics of educational conversation, he is also interested in discussing day-to-day activities that have significant effects on the environment. “I believe that UMM will be looking at a number of things, from our current consumption patterns to the chemicals we use for cleaning, to composting our food waste for fertilizer,” shared Goodnough. “I am also proud of UMM dining services’ emphasis on providing local foods when possible. I hope to work with these initiatives and our food service provider to help them achieve their goals of providing the best food, at the most reasonable cost, with the lowest environmental impact.”

Lowell Rasmussen, associate vice chancellor for physical plant and master planning, is pleased that Goodnough has accepted the campus sustainability coordinator position. “Troy has all the skills needed to serve in this position, but most importantly, he is personally committed to the cause,” stated Rasmussen. “His energy and enthusiasm will excite others and help advance UMM’s green campus initiatives.”

Goodnough has already represented UMM at several national conferences, and he has assisted students, staff and faculty with presentations and demonstrations. He looks forward to serving as a guest speaker to area and regional groups, as well. Please contact the Office of University Relations at urel@morris.umn.edu or 320-589-6050 to make arrangements.

Photo by Mike Cihak: Troy Goodnough