Officials search for new sustainability director following Chapple’s departure

Media Credit: File Photo by Donna Armstrong

Chapple oversaw some of the major sustainability initiatives that GW had undertaken in the past decade, including the recent ban on single-use plastics.

The University opened its search for a new director of the Office of Sustainability last month after Meghan Chapple stepped down from the post following nearly 12 years at GW.

Chapple – who was at the forefront of the University’s sustainability initiatives, like eliminating single-use plastics – left the University this summer and started her new role as vice president of sustainability at Georgetown University in August. Kathleen Fox, the assistant vice president for university resilience, said officials have posted the job listing for a new sustainability director online, and they hope to interview candidates “shortly,” as of earlier this month.

“The ideal candidate will lead implementation of sustainability initiatives and collaboratively unite and motivate others to embrace the University’s sustainability goals,” Fox said in an email. “The Sustainability team is hard at work managing the additional workload and that we are continuing our collaboration with the faculty.”

Members of Sustainable GW, an organization leading the University’s sustainability strategy, said Chapple “integrated sustainability into the culture of GW” and thanked Chapple for her work at GW in an Instagram post earlier this month. The post states Chapple helped create living laboratories on campus, where students could research and test different sustainability initiatives.

“Her creativity, passion and energy for sustainability does not go unnoticed,” the post reads. “Meghan’s expertise and commitment to sustainable communities and institutions has positioned GW as a leader in sustainability efforts.”

In a comment responding to the post, Chapple said she enjoyed her time at GW and hopes the sustainability organization will continue to grow.

“It was a privilege and honor to work with the GW team, and I will be cheering on Sustainable GW as it evolves into the future,” Chapple said in the comment.

Kimberly Williams, a stakeholder engagement associate in the Office of Sustainability who worked for Chapple since 2017, said Chapple promoted healthy air and climate, which helped the University achieve a 28 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2016. Williams said this decrease in gas emissions was a result of the Chapple’s Capital Partners Solar Project, which helped the University become 50 percent solar-powered.

Chapple contributed to the Internal Carbon Pricing in Higher Education Toolkit in 2018, which featured guidelines for cutting emissions at colleges and universities in 2018.

Williams said Chapple also developed the Ecosystem Enhancement Strategy, GW’s sustainability plan that promotes clean air, fresh water, sustainable food and waste decomposition. Williams said Chapple also increased green space on campus and worked toward phasing out plastics.

“I look forward to continuing to provide, students, staff and faculty with opportunities to make sustainability part of their experience at GW,” she said in an email.

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