Westmont alumnus Kenny Chism ’17, who oversees a variety of on-campus environmental projects, has become the first, fulltime sustainability coordinator at Westmont. In this pilot role, Chism will manage Westmont’s organic gardens and oversee Dining Commons-related sustainability projects (food waste, composting, local purchasing, etc.) through a partnership with Sodexo, which is contracted by Westmont’s dining services. He will also direct a variety of on-campus sustainability projects (recycling, awareness/action campaigns, energy management, etc.).
“The new position reflects a passion for Christians taking responsibility for caring for creation,” Chism says. “During my time at Westmont, I realized the important relationship we have with the rest of creation that weaves together a deep care for all life, a perspective of mindful stewardship, and a yearning for the reconciliation of all things through the power of our God.”
Westmont strives to reduce its carbon footprint, building new facilities to LEED certifications and installing solar panels on 40 faculty homes, which became the first fully solar community in Santa Barbara County in in 2010.
Chism discovered his passion for the environment when studied at Westmont and began working in the Westmont garden. He changed his major to ecology and studied creation care in New Zealand. “Following the Gaede Institute’s Liberal Arts for a Fragile Planet, I decided to stay in Santa Barbara to make this campus as environmentally friendly as possible,” he says.
Chism says he expects to be involved in some way with the recently announced minor in environmental studies.