SFCC instructor Monica J. Stenzel was recently recognized at the 2022 Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) for her work at the recently launched SFCC Sustainability Center, where she researches historical models of sustainability and helps connect students with research and conservation programs.
As a dedicated proponent of interdisciplinary collaboration, she incorporates traditional materials and craftsmanship in coursework, as well as a focus on the destructiveness of empire and consumerism. Stenzel has prioritized the partnership of faculty, facilities, students, and staff to build a sustainable culture through campus and community action.
“This has all been very affirming,” said Stenzel. “People have been responding well to this. It’s important.”
The WOHESC Champions of Sustainability program recognizes organizations and individuals exhibiting a forward-looking approach to innovative energy and waste reduction in the built environment, which contributes nearly 40% of total global energy-related carbon emissions.
Stenzel began work on the SFCC Sustainability Center last year, first as a side project involving the newly created garden on campus. From there, it blossomed into an office space with a mission and goals centered on bridging the gap between sustainability in curriculum and the institution’s own practices.
Stenzel, a lifelong learner who hopes to broaden her horizon on sustainability, says she was honored by the recognition, which affirmed her principles that higher education needs to take an active role in championing and following sustainable practices.
"Environmentalism doesn’t just belong to scientists," said Stenzel, whose graduate training was in history. "It’s a responsibility for everyone."