New director talks plans for the year

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The Center for a Sustainable Society (CSS) plays a major role in Pacific University’s sustainable programs and outreach within the community. This work can not be done without the hard working students and faculty who dedicate several hours a week to making Pacific a more sustainable environment.

The new director of CSS, Michelle Larkins, will be continuing that work during this school year. Larkins graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in Community Sustainability where her research examined how gender, ethnicity and migration influenced access to resources and ultimately how it impacts sustainability outcomes. Larkins also worked as a researcher for the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation working on sustainability initiatives and ethical market development for women farmers in Malawi, Africa.

Before arriving at Pacific, Larkins taught Environmental Science in Colorado, where she would often spend her spare time outdoors.

“I did a lot of hiking with my two dogs and got up to the mountains as much as I could,” Larkins said. “I am really looking forward to exploring the trails here in Oregon.”

In addition to focusing her efforts on sustainability, Larkins enjoys going out on her wooden kayak whenever she gets a chance.

“I grew up in Michigan, where my family farmed and restored old wooden boats,” Larkins said. “This
explains why I get really excited about food justice and I own an 18 foot Cape Charles wooden kayak.”

Pacific was of particular interest to her when she realized how many opportunities there were both in and outside of the classroom to engage with the student body. As the semester rolls forward, Larkins hopes to initiate more opportunities for students to participate in sustainability research across disciplines and majors.

“I was excited about the chance to elevate the voices of diverse stakeholder groups and to help Pacific University become a visible sustainability leader in the Pacific Northwest,” Larkins said. “Sustainability is for everyone and breaking down disciplinary silos is an important step in bringing together the next generation of thought leaders to make transformational changes.”


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