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Carrie Zaenglein

Carrie Zaenglein, member of UB's Green Team, with the straw bales which were used to construct her super-efficient home.

We asked Carrie Zaenglein, office manager for the School of Dental Medicine’s Information Resources, to tell us about her work in, and thoughts on sustainability. 

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

I have been a member of the UB Recycling Committee for years, and I just joined the Green Team, a pilot program for volunteers through the Office of Sustainability.  Even before being part of any committee, it has always been my goal to make whatever office I am in more eco-friendly.  Things like what I buy for the office, making sure everyone knows what can be recycled, encouraging double sided printing, bring your own mug, turn off the lights, etc.  We spend a lot of time here at UB and should be concerned with our environmental impact from consumables.

How have you involved your colleagues in your sustainability advocacy?

There are a few advocates in the building who have helped me get recycling going in areas where there was no equipment or education.  One main project was the Dental Clinics in the School.  I had help with spreading the word on the new bins and there has been a positive response.  The more people we have speaking up and being an example, the better. 

What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?

I just leased a Chevy Volt, which runs on electric so it has zero emissions.  I also carpool with 2 others so that cuts back on emissions.  And I am trying to be vegan, which is way more sustainable than a carnivorous lifestyle.  Many don’t realize the impact of the meat industry on the environment, but it is huge.  Even cutting out some meat or having meatless days helps.  These are things in addition to my green home, which is insulated with straw bales and powered by solar.  I’m always reading and trying to implement more green practices in my life.

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

More education for all; faculty, staff and students.  Changing the culture to everyone’s doing it versus only some who care.  Making people believe it does matter, it does make an impact, and it does save money.  UB is a small city and we have a responsibility to be a local leader/example.  We can do more.  But people should not think they have to go full force at once.  One little change at a time counts.

What question do you wish we had asked?

I wish you had asked if I would like a job working for the Office of Sustainability. My answer would be, "Yes, I would love a job working in the Office of Sustainability!"

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