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New director named for IUPUI Office of Sustainability



Jessica Davis is assuming a new leadership role in the work Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis undertakes to promote responsible environmental stewardship.

Davis is the new director of the IUPUI Office of Sustainability effective today, May 18, officials announced recently. She is replacing Colleen McCormick who left the university to become director of sustainability at the University of California, Merced.

Davis previously served as assistant director of the IUPUI Center for Earth and Environmental Science, sponsored by the Department of Earth Sciences in the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI.

“As the director of sustainability at IUPUI, Jessica will provide leadership and act as an organizational strategist for sustainability collaborating with the academic community to integrate sustainability into the curriculum and implementing comprehensive campus programs to promote an instinctive culture of sustainability at IUPUI,” said Gabrielle Bovenzi, assistant vice chancellor administrative services, Division of Finance and Administration.

“She will be working with Bill Brown, university director of sustainability, and the directors of sustainability across the state to explore ways to collaborate and get the most out of the new IU Bicentennial Strategic Plan and the fund development campaign that goes with it.”

The Office of Sustainability, part of the Division of Finance and Administration, assists and contributes to the coordination of many campus sustainability efforts, from recycling programs and urban garden to energy conservation efforts.

As director, her immediate order of business will be to “establish a baseline measuring where IUPUI students, faculty, staff and administration are as far as their awareness of sustainability in general, as well as sustainability initiatives on campus,” Davis said. “This will create a sort of roadmap as to where we need to focus our efforts as an office.”

Her office’s success in promoting an instinctive culture of sustainability at IUPUI will require campuswide involvement, Davis said.

“Sustainability is an inherently collaborative pursuit, and I need people to be sustainability champions in their own offices and dorms whom I can rely on for help.” 

The new director is looking forward most to engaging students. “As an institution of higher education, the biggest leverage in the pursuit of sustainability lies in our student body,” Davis said. “Students are incredible powerhouses for change, particularly within the realm of sustainability.  We must tap into that unbridled enthusiasm and utilize it.”

Before coming to IUPUI, Davis was the program manager and a research associate for the Institute for Green and Sustainable Science at Marian University where she taught the ecology of sustainability and mentored undergraduate research in ecology.

Davis, a Hoosier native, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Marian University and a master’s degree in biology with a concentration in ecology from the University of Dayton.  Her academic interests include ecology, sustainability, environmental policy, increasing science literacy of the general populous, and restoration of the human-nature relationship.