who are we
Director of Sustainability
+1 612 626 2588
Shane Stennes graduated with a BA in Political Science and International Relations from St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, and went on to receive a Master of Human Resources from the University of South Carolina. Originally, Shane became involved in University sustainability by working as the Sustainability Coordinator for University Services, facilitating the creation of the campus’ climate action plan and sustainability integration in various departments. Following other roles in Facilities Management resulting in a deeper understanding of the behind the scenes action at the U, Shane was hired as the Director of Sustainability. Average days usually involve catching up on industry digest, meetings, and keeping up on new information or ideas that may help advance sustainability.
Recently, Shane’s favorite project was working on installing solar PV on University property, which involved a broad group of stakeholders ranging from attorneys to energy engineers to product specialists. The effort of this varied and talented group will likely lead to new developments in renewable energy use for the University. Shane is interested in sustainability because he enjoys working on integrative solutions for tough and intractable issues that aren’t always well understood. Ultimately, he wants to be a part of the effort to do something now to create a better future for his children and his home state.
U of M ReUse Program Coordinator
+1 612 625 6874
Todd Tanner is the ReUse program coordinator at the University of Minnesota. The ReUse program salvages discarded materials from across campus from ending up in landfills or incinerators. Todd graduated with a degree in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance from the University of Minnesota, and has worked as a US Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Communications for the 13th PSYOPS Battalion, as well as for the Met Council. In addition to the ReUse program, Todd is also currently the President of ReUSE Minnesota, a nonprofit trade association.
Admin Coordinator, U Market Services
+1 612 625 8900
Leah Isbell graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in Spanish and Chemistry, and now works as the Administrative Coordinator for U Market Services, Printing Services and Addressing & Mailing. She has been in her current position for 10 months. Previously, Leah worked as Operations Manager at the U Card Office and as a Program/Project Specialist in Auxiliary Services Administration. Leah is looking forward to leading sustainability projects within her department and participating on initiatives lead by the Sustainability Office.
Environmental Compliance Specialist
+1 612 626 7957
Julie Rantala graduated with a BS degree in Biochemistry from Minnesota State University-Mankato. After graduation, she worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, working with hazardous waste, water permits, and stormwater programs. She has also worked with the Met Council Environmental Services. Now, she manages environmental compliance for the University of Minnesota. Her daily tasks include inspecting construction sites, pulling samples, creating a variety of plans and maps, providing environmental training, and completing required reports and permit applications. Julie’s favorite project has been working with a variety of businesses and industries while writing permits, to understand the impact of business regulations.
University Landscape Architect, Landcare
+1 612 624 8225
Tom Ritzer has been Campus Landscape Architect since 1999, and a practicing landscape architect since 1991. Prior to joining the U's Landcare department, he worked on a variety of urban infill and municipal park projects for two local A&E firms. Tom is a U of M alumnus, with an MS in Natural Resource Management from CFANS, and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from CDES. He participates as co-instructor for FW2001, which examines the balance between campus land use choices and potential ecosystem services. Tom works to help Landcare present a beautiful, safe, accessible and sustainable campus year round. He believes that the campus should be aesthetically pleasing and operationally sustainable while also providing ecosystem services like carbon sequestration and storm water management. Toward that end, he investigated potential green roof retrofits as a storm water management tool for the Twin Cities West Bank campus, and he drafted Landcare's Tree Replacement Principles to introduce more biodiversity in the campus urban forest. Tom has introduced green infrastructure on several recent campus projects, including the tree trenches and bio-filtration garden on Pleasant Street. He also leads the development of the Landscape Management Plan, which details Landcare's approach to sustainable campus management and identifies opportunities to make the Twin Cities campus beautifully sustainable.
Sustainability Director, University of Minnesota Duluth
+1 218 726 8198
Mindy Granley is the Sustainability Director at University of Minnesota-Duluth. With her undergraduate degrees in Geology and Hydrogeology, and a masters in Water Resources Science, she knows the importance of drinkable water, clean air, food, and a stable climate. She believes that the environment is impacted everyday by what we buy, what we throw away, and what we use, and balancing our needs with their environmental impacts is important to face. Working with students are her favorite type of projects, because students from all over campus with different majors care about sustainability and want to be a part of the solution.
Principal Civil Engineer
+1 612 626 3547
Cathy Abene is the principial civil engineer in Energy Management at the Twin Cities campus. After getting a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the U, she worked for the Seattle Department of Transportation as well as the Hennepin County Transportation Department. Day to day, she helps manage the water, sewar, and stormwater utilities. This means overseeing operations and maintenance, system planning, design, and construction. She also oversees stormwater system inspections and ensures they are in compliance with the University's MS4 stormwater permit. While working at the U, she has enjoyed getting to know the unique infrastructure which dates back to the 1800s!
Sustainability Director, University of Minnesota Morris
+1 320 589 6303
As the first Sustainability Director at the University of Minnesota Morris, Troy Goodnough has laid the foundation for a program that works to model Morris as an example of sustainability principles, practices, and excellence. Troy thinks about how our actions affect people around him, ones he doesn't know, future generations and the ecosystems that give life to all living things. He holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and chemistry. His favorite definition of sustainability comes from the the 1987 Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Goodnough reflected: “When people grasp this meaning, especially, ‘common-sense Minnesotans,’ it makes sense. No one wants to jeopardize the future of our children and grandchildren.”
Sustainability Education Coordinator, Twin Cities
+1 612 624 9430
Beth Mercer-Taylor is the sustainability education coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She administers the Sustainability Studies Minor, an interdisciplinary, free-standing program with nearly 200 undergraduates enrolled. Her work involves recruiting and advising students, creating community-building activities, coordinating the efforts of the curriculum committee that oversees the minor’s academic program, and leading new initiatives related to sustainability on campus.
Alternate Transportation Manager, Twin Cities
+1 612 625 1333
Steve Sanders, the Alternative Transportation Manager, has worked at the U for 23 years, and was key to creating the University of Minnesota Campus Bicycle program. Steve bikes every day, an 18 mile journey round trip. His time today is spent on coordinating bicycle related projects, including surveying the current levels of biker commutes across and to campus. Bikes are now an integral part of campus climate, instead of an afterthought or limited to providing bike racks. There's now support from other University departments and offices such as Landcare in efforts to promote healthier lifestyles and bike commutes. He also established the Zap! program at the Twin Cities campus, providing an excellent incentive for biking, where students receive gift cards and employees earn health premium reductions just for using their bikes. Under Sanders the bike center was created in 2011, where classes are offered, people can learn to fix their bicycles, and get the proper gear they need, located close to campus.
Sustainability Coordinator, University of Minnesota Rochester
+1 507 258 8217
Barry Standorf is the Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Minnesota Rochester, where his daily tasks include facility and laboratory safety and compliance, space assignment and accessibility, sustainability initiatives, acquisition of new space, and growth planning. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a BA in Biological Aspects of Conservation, Barry has worked in facilities maintenance, including as the Facility Manager at Boynton Health Service. After moving to Rochester in 20th, one of his memorable projects was the refurbishment and renovation of an old dilapidated building in downtown Rochester. The project brought all of the UMR faculty together under one roof, supporting collaboration across all academic disciplines. Barry is continually motivated by viewing sustainability and facilities work as a customer service to the faculty, staff, and students that make UMR a great institution.
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
College of Design
Vera Westrum Ostrom
Capital Planning & Project Management
Vera Westrum Ostrom
Social Media Manager
+1 612 624 3285
Abbi is a junior at the University of Minnesota studying graphic design. As social media manager, her main responsibilities around the office involve synthesizing communications from the Office of Sustainability and our partners in UServices to promote sustainability efforts on campus. She is interested in utilizing design to make the broad (and sometimes intimidating) concept of sustainability seem approachable and applicable for students, staff, and visitors at the U. The most exciting part of her job is seeing her designs in action and distributed University-wide through our social media platforms. She hopes that her efforts, in collaboration with the It All Adds Up campaign, will help inspire and incite change on campus. Start a conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
+1 612 624 3285
Rachel LeMire is a sophomore majoring in Graphic Design and pursuing a minor in Digital Media Studies. Rachel is responsible for social media content, articles and communication promotions for the It All Adds Up Program. She hopes to lead by example in reducing her carbon footprint. She believes that the combined effort of small actions will have big effects that positively impact our planet. She will use her love for the planet, design, and communication to influence the work she does for the Office of Sustainability and work she will do in the future.
+1 612 624 3825
Ben Lifson is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, with a BFA in Film, and currently attending the UMN for a degree in Computer Science. His role is to assist with graphic design, as well as videography for Living Labs and social media. Previously, he worked as a freelance editor for a number of organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Mithun Agency, and Minneapolis St Paul Film Society. He hopes to use his art background and technical skills to help spread the message of the Office of Sustainability to more people on campus and beyond.
Organics Rollout Green Corps Member
+1 651 230 45
Ahnika is a Minnesota Green Corps Member for the Organics Collection Program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth where she studied Environmental Sustainability and Economics. Prior to her undergraduate degree, she lived and studied in Copenhagen, Demark where she gained experience in their sustainable efforts. She currently resides in Minneapolis where she enjoys downhill ski racing and pretending like she loves Minnesotan winters.
+1 612 625 8084
Elizabeth Logas-Lindstrom is the Recycling Coordinator at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College. Previously, Elizabeth served as Development Director of a sustainability education nonprofit, implemented waste reduction strategies at local schools and nonprofits, and planned dozens of large-scale zero waste events. In her work at the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth is motivated by a campus community that values the human and environmental impacts of production and disposal. When she isn't compulsively sorting waste, Elizabeth enjoys exploring new landscapes, experimenting in the kitchen, and summer games of sand volleyball.
Organics Roll Out Coordinator
+1 612 363 6134
After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Geography & Environmental Management, Allison served as a Minnesota GreenCorps Member with St. Louis County, focusing on recycling education initiatives. From there, she spent three years at Minnesota Waste Wise helping businesses find solutions to increase waste diversion. As Organics Roll Out Coordinator, Allison is tasked with expanding organics recycling to every building on the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities campus. She also serves on the board of ReUSE Minnesota, a non-profit dedicated to growing the state’s reuse and repair economy.