UT Dallas Colors: Orange and Even Greener
Office of Sustainability's New Chief Wants Green Ideas To Bloom
May 26, 2011
Thea Junt is as impressed with the University’s sustainability record as she is excited about working to reduce UT Dallas’ carbon footprint even further.
“The reputation of UT Dallas just floors me,” said the new head of UT Dallas’ Office of Sustainability. “You just built a LEED-platinum building, which is the highest standard for construction of energy efficient and sustainable facilities,” she said, referring to the Student Services Building, which opened last year.
She’s also excited about the University’s exploration of LED lighting to save energy and money. “There is already so much right that I get to continue and expand on.”
Taking the University’s College Sustainability Report Card grade north from B- will be among her first goals.
“The University’s commitment to energy conservation and creating sustainable systems was key to attracting Thea, an individual with great experience, enthusiasm and a results-oriented attitude. She is a great addition to our team,” said Calvin D. Jamison, senior vice president for Business Affairs.
“Her energy put her right at the top of the list of candidates,” said Kelly Kinnard, director of Physical Plant Services at UT Dallas, who led the search effort.
Right off the bat Junt named several initiatives she intends to launch soon, including a student project called “Green Up, Move Out.”
“This program would boost recycling, food-bank donations and implement ‘dinnerware amnesty,’ allowing students in the Residence Hall or apartments to return flatware to the Dining Hall and Pub free of charge during or following move-out,” she said.
Many schools spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in replacement costs for “borrowed” flatware.
“It’s really just a matter of educating students about better options,” she said. “At the same time, things we don’t want in the trash cans – nail polish remover, cosmetics, hair spray and household cleaners – we’ll want to collect and dispose of properly.”
Junt, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Texas A&M University, also spoke of adding electric car-charging stations to campus and developing a green office program.
“We should have a program that recognizes offices that are organized and committed to saving paper, electricity and recycling resources. Offices could even compete to be the greenest,” she said.
Before arriving to UT Dallas from Seattle, Junt was an environmental protection specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Science Center, where she shared resources with the University of Washington and Oregon State University and worked directly with students.
“She’s vibrant, pretty seasoned and has skills to boot. She definitely adds value to the University,” said Sam Eicke, assistant director for Facilities Services. “What’s funny is, when she does her job, our jobs get a bit harder in the short term, but the University is way better off in the long term.”