Mary Fischer named as sustainability manager
Editor's Note: This article has been updated in the August 25 issue of the Justice.
Mary Fischer began as the new manager of sustainability programs on July 6, according to an email from Vice President of Campus Operations James Gray sent on that day.
This position is a new addition on campus. Lea Lupkin, a consultant from the company GreenerInc, served as a sustainability programs coordinator last year but only as a consultant instead of as a Brandeis employee, Gray explained in an email to the Justice.
“I believe a serious sustainability effort requires a full time staff person focused on the effort,” Gray wrote.
Fischer’s overall goal in this position is to reduce the University’s carbon footprint “which includes promoting more efficient use of energy and natural resources and lessening the waste we produce,” Gray wrote.
“We’re then going to set aggressive targets for the University for reducing our consumption of fossil fuels,” Interim University President Lisa Lynch said in a separate July 1 interview with the Justice. “We cannot be let off the hook ourselves with respect to our own consumption and actions. This is a university which has a long-standing legacy of activism. Well, I’d like to see us act right now on this campus.”
One of Fischer’s first tasks on campus will be to implement the electricity demand response program, Gray explained in an email to the Justice.
“This program is focused on reducing the amount of electricity we use on campus during the hottest summer days, which is when the most carbon-intensive electricity is online,” Gray wrote.
Fischer explained this further, writing that her first order of business on campus will be to address energy usage on campus and that she plans to complete a carbon inventory and investigate ways to reduce the University’s carbon footprint. “Our goal is to gather a cross-campus group of interested faculty, students and staff to help build priorities going forward,” she said in an email to the Justice.
Fischer wrote in an email to the Justice that the University has already taken many steps towards becoming a more sustainable campus, such as installing low-flow toilets in many locations on campus and building a rooftop community garden, but she also noted that there are always ways to improve.
Fischer’s qualifications include serving for five years as life-cycle sustainability manager at Stonyfield Farm, an organic food company. She also worked as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for five years before that, according to Gray’s email to the community.
Fischer has a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Dayton.
—Avi Gold and Max Moran contributed reporting.