PBA Spotlight: MaryBeth Stuenkel

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MaryBeth is a program manager at ITS. She first got involved in sustainability at the University of Michigan with the ClimateSavers Computing Project in 2007. The ClimateSavers team at U-M, including MaryBeth, worked on projects that aimed to incorporate sustainable computing as part of the culture at U-M. The project lasted two years, and MaryBeth continued its efforts as the sustainability liaison for IT.

Sustainability is something close to MaryBeth’s heart. “My mom was one of 13 children born to a coal miner in Pennsylvania. She didn’t throw anything away that you could use. She saved newspapers all year for boy scouts paper drive. She reused everything she could and I grew up viewing that as the standard. It doesn’t make any sense to me to waste stuff, and that was largely the way I was brought up.” As an institution U-M has a responsibility to be a good steward of the earth and should be using our resources wisely. “We also have a responsibility to give those resources and tools to the incoming generations as they become independent adults.”

When asked what she is most proud of in her work at U-M so far, MaryBeth highlighted the Green IT Achievement Program. Through this program, IT units could fill out a checklist of sustainable actions they were either already doing or would pledge to do soon. After completing the checklist, units would receive a certificate that ranked their efforts from bronze to gold. “Teams that achieved a gold level by the end of the project participated in an honorary tree planting ceremony to thank them for their efforts.” That tree is still on campus today.

Looking into the future, Marybeth is looking forward to working with the MiWorkspace team as they roll out across the University. “They are already doing a lot of things in a sustainable manner, but not many people know it.”

When asked what is one tip she would give us Wolverines, Marybeth stated, “The University has recently invested in collaborative tools, MBox & Google, that can be used to reduce the use of paper, reduce travel, and be more efficient.” Check out more sustainable computing tips at sustainablecomputing.umich.edu.

What does MaryBeth have to say about her own efforts at U-M? “My mom would be proud of me.”