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Mindy Granley grew up in the outdoors, just north of Duluth, MN. Most of her childhood days were spent in the woods, observing water flow and freeze and thaw in the forests surrounding her home. This inspired her to study hydrogeology in undergraduate school (B.S. in Geology/Hydrogeology, University of Minnesota-Duluth), work on runoff and sediment data collection in theArctic Circle (via the University of Massachusetts Amherst) and to study nutrient dynamics and water quality of Valley Creek, a high-quality trout stream in southeastern Washington County (M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities). In 2019, she became a Certified Energy Manager, through the Association of Energy Engineers. As Sustainability Director, Mindy works to advance energy initiatives to comply with the Board of Regents policy on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability and meet goals identified in our campus Carbon Commitment. She champions campus projects and leads outreach to promote energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Office of Sustainability also connects students to learning opportunities via partnerships with staff and faculty in academics, operations, co-curricular units, and the local community.
Favorite thing about working in the Sustainability Office: Connecting UMD students with projects that help reduce waste and save energy on campus and knowing that their exposure to sustainability will follow them into whatever career field they venture into. Helping include sustainability concepts in student projects, coursework, or research. Communicating the sustainable changes my UMD colleagues have made in campus operations. Planning for future changes on campus that will reduce our carbon emissions.
Why sustainability is important: The biggest reason sustainability is important to me is because I care about the future of my friends, family and people around the world. We all depend on the Earth’s environment to provide clean air, drinkable water, food and a stable climate. However, these environmental systems are impacted by the choices we make every day in society: what we buy, what powers us, what we throw away, what we use. Balancing environmental impacts while meeting the needs of society in an economically efficient way is a big challenge, but it is one we have to face in order to sustain our lives and our future.
Responsibilities: My job is to help inspire and coordinate sustainability efforts, communicate our progress, and assess the changes UMD is making to be more sustainable.
Most recent publication: Christiansen, Mary U., A. Hoxie, M. Granley, J. Slick, “Shines!: University Engineering, Students Advancing Duluth’s Sustainable Development.” Sustainability: The Journal of Record. December 2017.