July 1, 2010

ISU shares green coordinator with city

by Diana Pounds

Iowa State's green champion Merry Rankin will extend her territory for a year to help the city of Ames work on sustainability issues. The sharing arrangement is the result of a request by city officials.

In the fiscal year that begins July 1, Rankin, ISU's director of sustainability, will devote up to a quarter of her time heading an Ames task force on sustainability. The task force will initiate discussions with community groups and people and, ultimately, develop a city-wide sustainability plan, Rankin said.

The plan is part of the city's follow-through on its commitment to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Ames is among 1,000 cities participating in the agreement, which includes a goal to reduce 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels 7 percent by 2012.

The city will fund a portion of Rankin's salary and expenses, paying $25,000 under the one-year trial contract.

Ames and Iowa State have a history of working on green issues, and sharing a sustainability director is the latest partnership.

"We've already been doing things together," Rankin said. "Students and classes have assisted in growing sustainability programs in local businesses. And the community has been supportive of ISU's green efforts, through sponsorships and volunteer work. The new arrangement offers an opportunity to increase synergy and share expertise."

Rankin said she'll continue working out of her ISU office in 108 General Services. Two quarter-time student interns will join the sustainability office in the fall to assist with ISU projects.