Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kristen Lee: Sustainability Profile

by Dylan Huntzinger, Sustainability Office Education & Outreach Team Associate

The new academic year brings with it new classes, new opportunities, and for the Sustainability Office, a new staff person! Upon hearing about the Sustainability Programs Manager position at UCSC, Kristen Lee, a Los Angeles native living in Florida, enthusiastically applied. After many interviews with different candidates over the summer, our Office hired her for the position, which supports water conservation, zero waste, and grant writing for sustainability.

Kristen was inspired to pursue a career in sustainability by the natural beauty of California and the influence of an AP Environmental Science teacher, Mrs. Redman. Kristen is a volleyball fanatic and loves coaching, which she has done at all levels.  She is also an avid backpacker who has left footprints in the Sierras and Siskyous. Prior to her role at UCSC, Kristen worked in the Sustainability Office at Florida State University. 

Kristen lives sustainably by eating a low-meat diet and cycling as much as possible. While passionate, she is no righteous zealot when it comes to living sustainably. “No one is going to win the sustainability Olympics.  It’s less about being overzealous and more about introducing sustainable practices into everyday life.”

A useful green tip that she wanted to share with newsletter readers is that “dehydrating foods is one of the most energy-intensive [food processing] processes." According to R. Paul Singh, a food science professor at UC Davis, freeze-drying foods uses 1.7 times more energy than freezing. Who knew?

As Sustainability Programs Manager, Lee will be focusing on zero-waste and water conservation efforts, as well as supporting grant writing for sustainability projects on campus.  She will also support the Campus Sustainability Plan planning process that launches this quarter. 

When asked what sustainability means to her, she shared about the process of leading a more sustainable life: “I see sustainability as a learning process, understanding that your actions can have an impact and you will make an impact. There’s often a disconnect between knowing something to be true and taking action, following through, and that’s a learning process that takes time.”

The Sustainability Office staff welcomes Kristen Lee and looks forward to working with her! If you want to connect with Kristen, you can email her at klee122[at]ucsc[dot]edu.

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