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July 2012

In this Issue:
Explorer Alexandra Cousteau Speaks at Clarkson

Munter Trail System Nears Completion

Sprout Foundation Loan Fund for Student Start-Ups in Green Innovation

Alumni Donations Support the Greenhouse/Digester Project

Two Clarkson University Alumni Create Professorship in Sustainability

Clarkson Alumnae Anahita Williamson Receives U.S. EPA Award for her Environmental Work

Read more in past issues of the Sustainability Newsletters

Read more about
alumni giving for sustainability.

Blue Legacy

New riverfront

New riverfront trail system provides expansive views of the Raquette River


Digester, energy cabin and greenhouse (L-R)

Jane Spence
Danny, Kerry, Bob and Jean Spence (’79), a member of Clarkson’s Board of Trustees, and her husband Robert (’79) created the new Spence Professorship


Anahita Williamson, PhD
Director of the NYSP2I

Newsletter to report about Campus Sustainability

We will… “build sustainability into everything we do at Clarkson.” President Collins, April 2010

EVERYBODY needs to be involved to meet President Collins’ goal. This month’s newsletter celebrates the contributions of our alumni with their philanthropic and professional efforts to support sustainability on our campus and beyond.

Explorer Alexandra Cousteau Speaks at Clarkson

With Stephan Yelenik ’77 at its helm, the Alumni Council initiated the Clarkson Reunion Keynote Speaker series with Alexandra Cousteau as the inaugural speaker. Yelenik was joined by Alumni Council members Kevin Cunningham ‘90, Eric Dibble ‘81, Kate Dangremond ’01, Kyle Snyder ’08, Dave Tromp ’97 and Brian ’03 and Jennifer Walden ‘03, who made gifts to help underwrite the cost of the event.

Ms. Cousteau, the granddaughter of the legendary ocean explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, delivered an impassioned presentation about her life and advocacy through the non-profit Blue Legacy about the global water crisis.  In an interview with the Watertown Daily Times staff reporter Christopher Robbins, Ms. Cousteau addressed the water crisis in our region.  She stated “We need to stop and look at what is happening in our own back yards. The St. Lawrence has a lot of problems,” she said. “The beluga whales that live in the lower St. Lawrence are considered hazardous waste… Having a lot of water doesn’t necessarily mean that water is safe. We need to be more mindful of what we are putting in our water and how we protect it.”

Read more or watch a video clip of her visit to campus.

Munter Trail System Nears Completion

John Munter, a physics graduate of the class of 1959 has taken the concept of “in-kind” donations to a new level. He led a team that designed and built a set of trails and overlooks to highlight the beauty of the Raquette River waterfront. The team of volunteers contributing this project included faculty, municipalities, alumni and area businesses.  Munter used skills he developed as President of Munter Enterprises, Middle Grove, NY, a leader in the Northeast construction industry, to build the new trail system on campus.  The restoration and revitalization of the riverfront is a key element in Clarkson’s Master Plan.  Mr. Munter’s efforts have been transformative in making this area of campus a great destination for walking, biking or bird watching.

Sprout Foundation Loan Fund for Student Start-Ups in Green Innovation

Clarkson University received a generous grant from the Sprout Foundation Inc. of Denver, Colo. to establish the Sprout Foundation Loan Fund for Student Start-Ups in Green Innovation. The Sprout Foundation was established in 2005 by Robert (’69) and Suzanne Fanch with the primary mission of providing support to organizations and institutions that serve the environment and the needs of children.

The Sprout Foundation Loan Fund is a revolving loan fund for student-inspired and student-run start-ups that address issues and challenges associated with a sustainable environment. Blue Sphere Industries has been selected as the first recipient of a loan from the Sprout Foundation Loan Fund. Student owners of this business are taking concepts developed in Clarkson’s pilot-scale greenhouse to the next level with the installation of 100 aeroponic units in Peyton Hall for the year-round production of greens and herbs for Aramark and other local consumers.

Donations Support the Greenhouse/Digester Project

Renzi Foodservice, Inc., a major supplier of the food served on campus, understands the value of procuring fresh food from local sources and the expense of dealing with food waste.  Thus, it is fitting that a gift from Renzi Foodservice, Inc. will help to sustain the operation of Clarkson’s integrated greenhouse and anaerobic digester for five years.  Students are instrumental in keeping these systems going while they are immersed in the complex technical systems and day-to-day operation.  The Renzi gift will fund students leaders like Ashley Waldron (’12), who will help coordinate teams of student volunteers to further develop these systems and sustain their operation. This gift was coordinated by M. Jude Renzi ’91, VP, Sales and Marketing of Renzi Foodservice, Inc., Watertown NY.

The anaerobic digester that is currently consuming over 100 pounds of food waste per day was donated to campus through the efforts of Ryan Begin ’01.  His company, Feed Resource Recovery, built and sold the digester to Hannaford, who later donated the facility to Clarkson.

Two Clarkson University Alumni Create Professorship in Sustainability

A generous gift from two Clarkson University alumni has enabled the University to create the Jean ’79 and Robert ’79 Spence Professorship in Sustainable Environmental Systems.

Jean E. and Robert C. Spence of Wilmette, Ill., have funded the position to advise the University on sustainability matters; integrate sustainability principles into scholarship, teaching, and service; and to provide a focal point for the exchange of ideas with other institutions worldwide. Prof. Susan E. Powers (’83, ’85) was named the first Spence Professor. She holds a joint appointment as associate director for sustainability in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Read more about Jean and Robert Spence and their creation of this endowed professorship.

Clarkson Alumnae Anahita Williamson Receives U.S. EPA Award for her Environmental Work

Anahita Williamson, PhD, received the EPA’s 2012 Environmental Quality Award in recognition for her leadership and significant contributions to greening New York State.  Williamson was a member of the Clarkson School class of ‘95 and received her BS (’98), MS (’02), and PhD (’06) degrees from Clarkson. She is the daughter of Prof. Goodarz Ahmadi, Dean of the Coulter School of Engineering. 

Dr. Williamson was nominated by Senator Gillibrand for this award. “I congratulate Dr. Williamson for her dedication to securing a cleaner New York,” says Gillibrand. “From improving the region’s quality of life to successfully reducing our carbon footprint, Dr. Williamson will help lead the way toward a green energy future for our state and our country.”

As the director of New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT, she has also had the opportunity to maintain close ties with Clarkson.  Clarkson has received grants for research and award-winning student sustainability projects through our partnership in the NYSP2I.

Learn more about Clarkson’s sustainability Efforts