LVAIC director of sustainability no longer employed at DeSales

Originally published in Issue 8, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (February 2, 2017). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Campus Environment is no longer employing the environmental consulting services of Nick DeSalvo, director of sustainability with the Lehigh Valley Assoc. of Independent Colleges (LVAIC).

Robert Snyder, vice president of administration, finance and campus environment, made this decision in December saying that Nick was “spread too thin” by being at DeSales a third of the time and spending the other two thirds at Lafayette and Moravian.

This does not mean the campus is taking a step backwards in sustainability, though.

“It wasn’t that we were looking to eliminate [the position],” said Marc Albanese, vice president of Campus Environment. “We were looking to bring it back in house.”

Albanese says that by bringing DeSalvo’s roles in house, the program will become more comprehensive and expand by having staff members focus on specific issues.

One of the expansions is the new role of campus environment data entry, which will examine how much electricity, water and natural gas DeSales uses and compare the data to previous months to determine if the data is trending up or down.

earth2desales

Members of the Earth to DeSales picked up trash at Lake Nockamixon in October 2016 and have numerous sustainability plans for this semester. Photo courtesy of Megan Arnold

DeSalvo also served on the Campus Environmental Committee and was the advisor to Earth to DeSales, a club dedicated to sustainability. 

“Nick had so many great contacts and resources at his disposal and that was a huge part of getting the club up and running again,” said president of Earth to DeSales Megan Arnold.

DeSalvo attended all their meetings to contribute  ideas and came to a Lake Nockamixon trash clean up last semester.

“Needless to say, Nick was a huge part of the club, and a huge help to me individually. The club is really going to miss him personally and professionally,” said Arnold.

Dr. Joseph Leese, assistant professor of biology, will be replacing DeSalvo as Earth to DeSales’ advisor.

Leese was initially concerned about why DeSalvo was no longer employed. He saw the value of having DeSalvo’s communication network and knowing about the sustainable initiatives other LVAIC schools were implementing.

However, after learning Campus Environment’s plan, he said, “I do think on a practical level that having people on campus dedicated to [sustainability] makes more sense.”

Leese says that it’s all about making students aware and educated on sustainability issues. In recent years, DeSales replaced fluorescent outdoor lighting with LED lights, Gambet received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and a wildflower meadow was planted to reduce DeSales’ carbon footprint.

Leese does his part as well by occasionally riding his bicycle to work.

“When I ride to work, it saves me almost nothing on CO2 emissions, but I think it shows students I care about the next generation.”

Arnold agrees with Leese on the importance of education and aims to increase knowledge about sustainability on campus. Upcoming Earth to DeSales events include a dorm-energy competition where the dorm who uses the least energy each month receives a prize, a trip to the Nurture Nature Foundation in Easton, documentaries to raise awareness and fundraisers to get the word out about sustainability.

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