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UNT Insider | February 2009 Issue | Sustainability

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UNT taps EPA coordinator for top environmental job

From a UNT News Service Press Release

UNT hired an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead its environmental efforts and oversee the newly established Office of Sustainability.

Todd Spinks began the new position Feb. 16.

"UNT has been moving forward quite progressively and aggressively toward becoming a green university," Spinks says. "The Office of Sustainability will continue to promote environmentally sustainable practices in everything the university does by encouraging a collaborative spirit within the UNT family to realize the power of our ideas."

Spinks, a UNT alum, has served as the special projects coordinator for the EPA since July 2007. Before that, he was the co-director of UNT's International Studies major. Spinks has an extensive background in furthering groundbreaking, interdisciplinary efforts related to protecting human health and the environment.

In his new role, Spinks will work closely with UNT's Sustainability Council, comprised of faculty, staff and students. The new office will focus on four major areas pertaining to sustainability: research, university operations, outreach and curriculum development.
Spinks' hire continues UNT's commitment to sustainability:

  • The university was honored this month as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
  • Crews are now converting cooking oil from campus cafeteria into diesel fuel for UNT vehicles for about $1 a gallon.
  • The facilities department plans to replace gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles, with eight new electric vehicles recently taking the road.

"UNT has clearly pulled into the lead for Texas universities' sustainability programs with our hiring of one of the EPA's leaders," says Sam Atkinson, chair of the Sustainability Council. "At UNT, we mean green."

Wendy K. Wilkins, UNT provost and vice president of academic affairs, says Spinks' past job experiences have prepared him well for the task at UNT.

"Todd is a highly motivated leader with experience in strategic program development and trans-organizational collaboration. As the special projects coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency, he collaborated with numerous governmental agencies, academic institutions, American Indian tribes and the media to develop projects emphasizing environmental sustainability activities and ethics," Wilkins says. "His experiences with the EPA, combined with his enthusiasm for UNT, make him an excellent candidate to oversee UNT's new Office of Sustainability."

Christy Crutsinger, faculty assistant to the provost and chair of the search committee, says Spinks will help take UNT to the next level in its efforts to be a green campus.

"We are thrilled to have Todd join our team as he provides the necessary leadership for transforming UNT into a sustainable campus," says Crutsinger, also an associate dean in the School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management.

Sarah Bahari with UNT News Service can be reached at Sarah.Bahari.@unt.edu.

Read other stories in this issue:

February 2009

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