OMAHA – Today, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) announced that Steven Rodie will fill a new position dedicated to the future of sustainability efforts on and off campus as the first director of the UNO Center for Urban Sustainability.
Joining UNO from his role as associate professor of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Rodie will serve a dual role as director of the Center for Urban Sustainability and professor in the Department of Biology.
In his role as director, Rodie will work with colleges across the UNO campus, in partnership with Omaha community members and government officials, to find ways that UNO research and engaged students can provide a tangible benefit to Omaha and its citizens.
“I want UNO to be a leader in broadening knowledge for all three focus areas of sustainability,” Rodie said, “That is, environmental stewardship in areas such as energy efficiency and water conservation and quality, social responsibility in areas such as healthy food availability and personal roles in community enhancement, and the economic prosperity that can directly result from the long-term cost-savings and other benefits derived from sustainability practices.”
Rodie will not only serve as a facilitator, but as a resource for students, faculty colleagues and community memberswho may be interested in a sustainability-focused curriculum, including service learning efforts and internships.
“So many students today see sustainability as integral to their lives,” Rodie said. “They know that there will be a high demand for jobs that take sustainability efforts into account and having those experiences here at UNO and in the Omaha community are going to be vital to them finding the best employment opportunities when they graduate.”
In 2012, UNO identified sustainability as one of its five academic priority areas. Some elements already in place or in process on campus that are supported by the Center for Urban Sustainability include a Minor in Sustainability for all undergraduate students, a sustainability concentration within the Bachelor of General Studies degree program, and a graduate certificate in sustainability.
“Steve is someone who has already hit the ground running and has been able to begin building on elements we already had in place,” explains UNO Chief Research Officer Scott Snyder. “Not only does he bring his decades of academic work to the table, but he also brings a wealth of connections from his past projects with the government and citizens of Omaha and Lincoln.”
In addition to his role as director, Rodie will teach two classes a semester within the Environmental Studies Program at UNO. This arrangement, Rodie said, allows him to continue his passion for teaching while keeping him connected to faculty perspectives and challenges in addressing sustainability curriculum and research across all colleges at UNO.
“Simultaneously wearing my three professional hats of professor, landscape architect and administrator allows me to better help students, faculty and communities identify opportunities to engage in sustainable approaches to real-world problem solving and quality-of-life enhancement. ,” he explained. “Students are key to the futureimplementation of innovative and cost-effective sustainable practices, and if they can live it every day on campus and in their communities, there is no better foundation for them to be successful into the future.”
For questions about the Center for Urban Sustainability, please contact Steve Rodie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.554.3752.
For media requests, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at email@example.com or 402.554.2129.
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