There are a variety of people who work on sustainability issues at San Diego State University. The people below are faculty and staff responsible for sustainability in some capacity, along with Sustainable SDSU interns. There are many others who impact the campus in their own way.
Faculty and Staff
Tom Abram is the Assistant Director of Facilities Services where he is responsible for campus sustainability and energy management. At SDSU, Tom focuses on strategic planning in order to develop and advance sustainability initiatives. Tom's previous experience includes mechanical design for deep green and net zero buildings at Integral Group as well as Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Illinois where he co-authored their Climate Action Plan. Tom holds a Masters in Sustainable Design and Construction from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a professional engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, and Certified Energy Manager.
"For people interested in getting involved in sustainability, I recommend that you acknowledge and understand the breadth of this topic. Sustainability touches upon so many areas and offers a wide variety of paths. No matter what field you enter, you can be involved in advancing sustainability. Network with people from different sectors of the sustainability field to understand what might be a fit for you."
Phone: (619) 594-0550 | Email: [email protected]
"At James Madison University in Virginia, I received a Bachelors of Science in Integrated Science and Technology with a focus in Energy and Environment. I began my career in Washington, D.C. as a sustainability specialist at the renowned Architectural Engineering firm, SOM, where I coordinated LEED for building projects, and performed whole building energy analysis as well as solar analysis to inform the building design at the earliest phase. Realizing my lack of understanding of systems integration, I transitioned to working at an engineering firm, WSP, as a commissioning agent where I developed knowledge of controls, commissioning, and energy audits. I was fortunate to have worked on a variety of interesting, high-profile projects, such as the United States Capitol Building, the new Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History & Culture on the National Mall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Georgetown University, and the International Monetary Fund’s Headquarters building."
Email: [email protected]
As a San Diego State University Alumni, Glen Brandenburg continues his passion for sustainable practices as Director of Facilities and Sustainability, Adviser to A.S. Sustainability/Green Love Commission, and has dedicated his time to the Climate Action Planning Council on campus. Glen has also revamped Mission Bay Aquatic Center's sustainability practices as well as ensured that many of SDSU's building are LEED Certified.
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Matthew Lauer is a beloved professor of SDSU’s Department of Anthropology where he serves as Director of SDSU’s Sustainability Major/Minor Program as well as Director of the Environmental Anthropology Lab. Apart from his teaching duties, Dr. Lauer is heavily involved in researching population, environmental change, disasters, and conservation issues in Latin America and Oceania. Some of his most well-known research includes studying coral reef conservation on the island of Mo'orea and in the Solomon Islands. Dr. Lauer has also authored several papers about the resilience and vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change, natural disasters, and community-based resource management and development.
Office: AL-417| Phone: (619) 594-0978 | Email: [email protected]
Office: SLHS 230 | Phone: (619) 594-0243| Email: [email protected]
Office: Education Building, Room 112 | Phone: (619) 594-7640 | Email: [email protected]
Office: Office of Housing Administration | Phone: (619) 594-5742 | Email: [email protected]
Spring 2019 Sustainability Interns
"I’ve been with with Sustainable SDSU as a STARS and Sustainability intern since June of 2017. I received my AA in Environmental Studies at the Santa Rosa Junior College before transferring to SDSU as a Sustainability Major in Fall 2016. I’ve been involved with Sustainable practices and studies since my junior year of high school where I became involved with my schools green pathway and met my first mentor and good friend Len Greenwood who taught a Sustainable Practices class. I don’t have any super specific career goals, but I do want to work a job that at least includes sustainability and that I am passionate about."
"As an intern I spearheaded the process of completing SDSU’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report. This included doing research, gathering data, and communicating with a large amount of staff on campus. I learned a great amount about SDSU’s sustainability efforts and about the staff. I also realized that while SDSU did great on the STARS report with receiving a Silver rating, that we could still improve. So now I am in the final steps of completing a STARS road to Gold and Platinum report that will explain where we fell short and actions the campus can make to achieve these higher ratings."
Favorite part of SDSU:
"It would have to be the sustainability student organizations; Greenlove, Greenfest, and the Enviro-Business Society. When I first transferred to SDSU I became very involved with the Enviro-Business Society and I eventually became Co-President. Being apart of the Enviro-Business Society pushed me to learn about the sustainability community in San Diego and it taught me endless lessons in event planning, teamwork, networking, collaborating and so much more. I think that the sustainability student orgs on campus are an amazing environment that nurture and encourage students to stand up for what they believe in and build relationships through common interests and beliefs. Without the Enviro-Business Society I probably wouldn’t have my position with position with Sustainable SDSU and I encourage everyone to check out and become involved with any (even every!) Sustainable student org."
Major/Year: Environmental Geology Major expecting to graduate in December 2019.
"Growing up in Carlsbad, CA played an important role in my love for the environment and sustainability. As an avid surfer, I have a strong love for the ocean and have always been fascinated by the mechanics behind it. Along with this, I care about all sea life and often see trash in the ocean or on the beach. Because of this, I became motivated to help make a difference and decided taking an environmental route would be my best way. I also have a group of friends who share similar interests and love to surf or camp with me. In high school, my friends and I would go hike and camp often which enhanced my love for nature. I learned that I love to spend time outdoors instead of playing video games like most kids."
"I work as a energy analyst assistant and am responsible for campus energy billing and assist with energy analysis for SDSU by collecting data from electric, gas, water, and steam consumption meters across campus. I am currently working on a project called “Shut the Sash” to encourage laboratories around campus to shut the sash of fume hoods to save energy and money. My favorite part about my job is knowing that I am making a small difference in the future of sustainability at SDSU. I also love working with my sustainability team and finding ways to improve sustainability around campus. "
"I am not entirely sure what my goals are but I know I want to work outside and want
to better the environment in some way. Hopefully, I can work in the hydrogeology field
and help improve our water quality but I am keeping an open mind. Ideally, I would
like to find a job that keeps me in Southern California with the possibility of travel.
1st step toward lifestyle:
"My first step towards a sustainable lifestyle was buying a Hydroflask during my sophomore year of high school. Six years later and I still own the same Hydroflask. I remember when I first bought my Hydroflask, I promised myself that I would start making a difference. Ever since then, I have been doing anything I can to help save our planet, from taking shorter showers to convincing all my friends and family to stop using plastic water bottles and much more."
"I just recently joined this great sustainable SDSU team. This is my first semester, and I am a transfer student from San Diego City College majoring in Sustainability. I received my AA in Behavioral Science and Liberal Arts and I am one class away from my 2nd one in Sustainable Urban Agriculture. I was happy to find out that SDSU had a Sustainability major, so I applied, and here I am! I knew I wanted to work on campus, so I applied with the Sustainability Department, and was hired as a work-study intern. I think I’m still going to apply with the City of San Diego Parks and Rec Department, when I’m done with school."
"I am a dual citizen, Canadian and American, and growing up in Canada, we were always outside. We always had a garden for both food and flowers. My Grandma and Mother always had lots of flowers and plants inside the house and out, so it sort of comes naturally I guess. One of my fondest memories is sitting in the garden with my Grandma podding millions of peas for dinner."
Major/Year: 3rd Year; Geography with an emphasis in Environmental and Physical Sciences and a minor in Leadership.
Involvement: "In addition to working with Sustainable SDSU I am also an SDSU Ambassador, Vice President of the Enviro-Business Society(e3), and participate in research with a city planning/public administration professor."
"My position with Sustainable SDSU is as the EcoReps intern. EcoReps is a new and exciting program which engages and educates all SDSU students on sustainability. EcoReps is a student led group of trained peer leaders who host events in the Residence Halls, gives Campus Sustainability Walking Tours, presents to classrooms on campus sustainability and resources, and more! The goal is to integrate sustainability with campus culture here at SDSU. My favorite part of my job is getting to work with Tom and the other interns. We’re the Sustainable Team!"
"I hope to have a career working towards sustainability in some way. Right now I’m really exploring my options and taking advantage of the opportunities I have now before I lock myself into a path. A few areas I’m interested include: conservation science and policy, food insecurities, green/living buildings and xeriscaping, city planning, and oceanography. My dream job would be to work for the National Geographic Society or the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Or as an actor on SNL, still haven’t let that one go."
Favorite sustainable watch: Chasing Coral on Netflix
Favorite sustainable read: “Sapiens a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari”.
Favorite feature of campus:
"Transit Station and Campus Grown Initiative. Touring the campus myself I never would have connected transportation and sustainability. I love the access it’s given me to get to jobs, internships, the football stadium, or my favorite Balboa Park!"
1st step toward a sustainable lifestyle:
"Trying the vegetarian diet. Learning about the effects of animal agriculture on the environment resonated with me. From there it was one step at a time. Advice for anyone getting started with living more sustainably: focus on one aspect at a time and make a gradual change. For now my favorite tip to start is to bring your own water bottle, coffee mug, and utensil set with you! Also to say no to straws! They are so wasteful, not recyclable, and you can think of carrying your own straw as a fashion statement! We love stuff, so carrying a few extra things that last seems logical to me."
Major/Year: 2nd year majoring in Business and Sustainability with a Honors Minor
"My position is the Green Office Certification intern, and my main role right now is perfecting a program to assess departments on campus for their sustainability within the office. Other than this internship, I am also currently the Green Love Commissioner for Associated Students, and I am an active member in the Delta Beta Tau co-ed Buddhist fraternity on campus! My ultimate goal for my future career is to make a difference, wherever that takes me. My ideal path is transforming business into a more sustainable field, so hopefully things work out with that! Back to the present, my favorite part of this job is the team Tom has created. Working alongside Tom, Mckenna, Travis, Nick, Taylor, and now Ally, has been a dream. I’m looking forward to getting my program out to departments, and I can’t wait to see where it builds from there."
1st step toward sustainable lifestyle:
"I just started this sustainable lifestyle about a year ago. I am still learning as I go, and I’m so thankful for everyone around me giving me support on this journey. If you’re interested in being more sustainable, my best advice is to take it one step at a time. It can be so overwhelming if you try to do it all at once, and you might end up giving up while trying to pile it all on. Look at what you have now, and think about what you can change next. If you’re still using plastic water bottles, consider purchasing a reusable bottle instead. If you’ve checked that off, what about a pack of ToGoWare or other reusable utensils? There are so many categories to go off of, and there’s no right or wrong answer to how you go about it, as long as you continue to go about it. I’m happy to talk about the things I’ve learned if you’re interested in learning more! My email is [email protected], feel free to reach out!"
Major/Year: 2nd year Sustainability Major, Political Science Minor
"Originally from Inland Empire, I came to SDSU to earn a BA in Sustainability and to be close to the beach. Throughout my collegiate experience, I have been involved in Green Love, the Residence Halls, and Rotaract. All of these different avenues allowed to discover my passion for sustainable change and the wellness of human beings. When I am not working on school or Sustainable SDSU, you can find me hiking, surfing, visiting a farmer’s market, or doing yoga. One thing I want people to know is that being an environmentalist is easy; you just have to be in nature for 5 minutes to realize its worth conserving."
"As an Outreach Intern, I try to represent all of the efforts different people and groups are fostering in order to create a more #sustainablestate. There is a great deal of movement happening everyday that can go unheard. Bringing awareness to this can manifest community and allow individuals to work together. My love for Sustainable SDSU lies in the institution’s common goal. Everyone that I work with cares about the Earth and its inhabitants, organically creating an environment for change."
Origin of Sustainability:
"I believe that the origin for my passion stemmed from my childhood. Growing up, I had a fruitful backyard in which I would spend most of the day since I was homeschooled. Looking back at this, I believe the combination of youth and nature cultivated my connection to it today. I had a chance to see how beneficial nature is to everything around it and that is something I want to spread to my community."