It’s easy for Lindsey Van Zile to get caught up in what she calls her “science bubble,” focusing on her duties as Randolph’s new sustainability and campus projects coordinator.
That’s why she loves the job so much. She’s able to focus on sustainability efforts while also interacting with people all over campus.
Among her duties are analyzing the College’s energy use and calculating where it could go in the future, tending the Organic Garden, teaching Randolph’s Organic Gardening course, and managing the Rummage Room.
In her role on the Sustainability Council, she’s working to update the College’s sustainability plan.
“It combines all of my experiences,” said Van Zile, who started in October. “Everything connected. I’m just really happy to be here. I’ve been so impressed with the student engagement and how passionate the students are. They are so involved. And every student is familiar with our sustainability initiatives or knows someone who is involved. It’s very easy to talk to students about that.”
A New Jersey native, Van Zile graduated from the University of Lynchburg in 2017, where she majored in environmental studies with a minor in public relations.
After a brief stint working for Lynchburg’s Claytor Nature Center, she took a seasonal position with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, leading backpacking trips and hikes and providing general outdoor education.
“I fell in love with teaching kids and sharing knowledge about nature,” she said.
Van Zile later spent two years in Boston, working for a small nonprofit organization, primarily providing environmental education in schools—from kindergarten to 12th grade—and community centers.
“Everyone who worked with me had other roles to play to keep the nonprofit running,” added Van Zile, who also organized summer camps and ran social media and outreach campaigns. “Not only was I able to teach, which I loved, but I was able to learn how to do other tasks to help run this organization.”
When the pandemic hit, she first moved home to New Jersey, then back to Lynchburg to earn her masters in nonprofit leadership from her alma mater.
While earning her degree, Van Zile worked as a sustainability graduate assistant and a full-time groundskeeper; part of her duties included managing the community garden and helping start a compost program with dining services.
“I’m really glad I was able to do all of those things,” she said. “I learned so much about the realities of sustainability in higher education.”Tags: environmental sustainability, sustainability