By Seth Arter, Contributor
Last month, the University of Nebraska at Omaha announced that Steven Rodie would be joining campus staff, taking on two different titles. Rodie came from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he was an associate professor of agronomy and horticulture.
Rodie will take on the role as the director of the Center for Urban Sustainability. In Rodie’s position as the director, he will work with different college departments on UNO’s campus alongside residents of Omaha and government employees to discover how research and UNO students can provide benefits to the Omaha community.
Rodie wants UNO to be a top school for intelligence in the three areas of sustainability, which are environmental stewardship, social responsibility and community enhancement.
“I want UNO to be a leader in broadening knowledge for all three focus areas of sustainability,” Rodie said. “That is, environmental stewardship in areas such as energy efficiency and water conservation and quality, social responsibility in areas such as healthy food availability and personal roles in community enhancement, and the economic prosperity that can directly result from the long-term cost-savings and other benefits derived from sustainability practices.”
Knowing that students will seek jobs that are in a high demand of sustainability, Rodie will also be an available resource for students.
Although Rodie’s role as the Director of the Center for Urban Sustainability is an important one, it’s not Rodie’s only role. Besides being the director, Rodie will also be teaching two classes per semester in the Environmental Studies department at UNO. Teaching these classes will help Rodie to maintain his passion in this field and engage with staff to hear different types of perspectives about the sustainability program.
In 2012, UNO announced that sustainability was one of the top five academic priorities. In fulfillment of that announcement, a minor in Sustainability for all undergraduate students, a sustainability concentration within the bachelor of general studies degree program, and a graduate certificate in sustainability are now all available for UNO students.
“So many students today see sustainability as integral to their lives,” Rodie said. “They know that there will be a high demand for jobs that take sustainability efforts into account and having those experiences here at UNO and in the Omaha community are going to be vital to them finding the best employment opportunities when they graduate.”
Great change will come to UNO with Rodie as director of sustainability. With a wide range of professional experience, Rodie will be able to work closely with students and staff to solve problems in regard to sustainability.
“Steve is someone who has already hit the ground running and has been able to begin building on elements we already had in place,” said UNO Chief Research Officer Scott Snyder. “Not only does he bring his decades of academic work to the table, but he also brings a wealth of connections from his past projects with the government and citizens of Omaha and Lincoln.”