Randolph’s new Sustainability and Special Projects Coordinator Riley Lorson ’21 is following in the footsteps of her predecessors by upholding Randolph’s commitment to the environment.
“Sustainability can be defined as working together environmentally, economically, and socially to ensure that the resources we use and how we interact with nature remain able to support current and future generations,” said Lorson, who graduated with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in philosophy. “Being a sustainable campus is important for future classes of students, faculty and staff, and the community.”
Lorson is a longtime nature lover who was actively involved in her 4H club growing up. In high school, earth science was a favorite class. Her passion for the subject flourished at Randolph.
“When I took Dr. Sarah Sojka’s geology class freshman year,” lorson said, “I realized the environmental field was the place for me.”
During her time at Randolph, Lorson was a member of the Sustainability Council, which she’ll now co-chair in her new role at the College.
She also volunteered in the Organic Garden—where she was the head chicken wrangler—and the Rummage Room, and was a member of the Environmental Club, the WildCat Wellness Council, and the Natural History Collections Club.
As a co-founder of Randolph Thrive, a self-navigated program based on research showing that time spent outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, Lorson helped identify several spots across campus where students could connect with nature and find some relief.
She also found time to work in the field, interning with the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences and as a sustainability intern with the Cheesecake Factory, working to build a case for an ongoing project addressing excess food and diverting food waste.
In her new position, Lorson assists the director of building and grounds with project planning, budgeting, communication, and tracking the College’s utility usage. She’s also managing the Organic Garden, caring for the chickens, overseeing community plots, and teaching the organic gardening class.
As co-chair of the Sustainability Council, she manages work-study students and interns helping with the bike share program, Randolph Thrive, the Rummage Room, and sustainable campus dining projects.
Lorson hopes to recruit more students into the fields of environmental science and studies, while inspiring the same passion for sustainability in them that she found at Randolph.
“Not only was Riley was an outstanding student at Randolph, she also completed several internships and research positions that equipped her particularly well for the demands of her new job, particularly her leadership role to develop the Randolph Thrive program,” said Karin Warren, Randolph’s Herzog Family Professor of Environmental Studies and Science. “Riley has the analytical and communication skills, supervisory experience, and creative energy required to be effective in this position. We’re fortunate to have her, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she puts her stamp on sustainability at Randolph.”
Tags: environmental science, environmental studies, environmental sustainability, outcomes, sustainability, Sustainability Council