Meet Union’s new sustainability coordinator

Publication Date

Alex Lykins recently took over for Meghan Haley-Quigley ’11 as steward of the College’s sustainability efforts.

Alex is familiar with the campus, having served as a residence director, where he helped lead efforts in waste management, energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

A native of Middletown, N.Y., he has spent the majority of his life in Schenectady County.

He loves hiking, camping and mountain climbing.

He earned a bachelor’s in global and international studies with a concentration in sustainability and a bachelor’s in human development, both from SUNY Oswego. He is currently pursuing a master’s in sustainability at Bard College.

Why did you decide to switch from Residential Life to manager of Sustainability and Green Initiatives?

I have had a passion for sustainability since I was young. In Res Life I worked with the previous sustainability coordinator for roughly 10 hours a week. From that experience I knew it was what I wanted to do, it is a unique role that combines the ability to guide Union's sustainability efforts, engagement with students, and work in a field that is constantly innovating and growing.

What are some of the best "green" things about Union?

The passion and drive that students have about bringing green initiatives and constantly improving Union is by far one of the best green things about the school. I also think the Green Fee and the Presidential Green Grants have been a great way for students, faculty and staff to find resources and support for their own green initiatives. Two of the projects that have come out of the Green Fee are the bike share program, U-Bike, and the water bottle refill stations installed across campus.

What are some of the challenges?

One of the greatest challenges I've seen is that sustainability is riddled with misconceptions and has no universally agreed upon definition.

This presents a challenge to integrating sustainability into Union's campus community. But it also presents an opportunity to craft a working definition of what sustainability means that includes all campus stakeholders and helps us to work towards integrating sustainability into the culture of Union.

How do you plan to get more people thinking about sustainability on campus?

Working toward a definition of sustainability for Union College will be an important step in integrating it into our campus community. I want to engage with students, faculty and staff around this topic and show them how sustainability is something that is relevant to them in their everyday lives so we can work towards creating a more sustainable Union College community.