UNH Alumni Sustainability Webinar Series

UNH Alumni Sustainability Webinar Series
STARS banner hanging on campus with Thompson Hall in background

Sustainability Insights for You:
UNH Alumni Sustainability Webinar Series

In this webinar series, you’ll hear from UNH alumni who are leading experts in sustainability across industries and sectors. They’ll share diverse perspectives on the key trends, and you’ll gain practical knowledge that you can use professionally and personally.

While sustainability challenges can feel overwhelming -  climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, growing inequality, food insecurity, global pandemic - there is exciting collaborative action taking place world-wide and across the private, public and non-profit sectors to bring forward innovative solutions.

25 years ago, UNH committed to sustainability action and impact. Today, you can be proud to know UNH is leading the way. We’re one of the most sustainable schools in the country and one of just a handful to achieve STARS Platinum rating, so it’s especially fitting that we’re bringing together alumni around sustainability topics.

The webinar series is a partnership of UNH’s Sustainability Institute and Alumni Relations.

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Sustainability Webinar series

2023-24 Dates

All webinars are from 12-1 p.m. EST

Thursday, October 19, 2023
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Tuesday, March 26, 2024

2023-24 Webinar Series

Hidden Toxics in Our Products & the Transition to Green Chemistry
March 26, 2024
12 - 1 p.m. EST

Recording coming soon!

Ever wondered about the presence of toxic chemicals in our daily lives? What may we be exposed to, what actions are being taken, and what steps can we personally take to limit our exposure? Join us to hear insights from leaders in this space to learn what you should be aware of, ongoing initiatives to help us make smarter choices, and what’s needed for a transition to a green chemistry future. We'll be joined by:

  • Ali (Alexandra) McPherson ‘96, Director of the Investor Environmental Health Network, Clean Production Action
  • Jeffrey Kohn ‘92, Branch Supervisor of the Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Branch, Environmental Protection Agency  
  • Stacy Malkan ‘90, Co-founder, managing editor, U.S. Right to Know, author of the book Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry   

Unveiling the Current State of Waste and Recycling
January 24, 2024
12 - 1 p.m. EST

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Join us to hear key insights from UNH alumni who are leaders in the waste and recycling industry - a topic that affects us all! They'll discuss the current state of the industry and share thoughts on where it needs to head for a sustainable future. Speakers include Mikey Pasciuto ’21, Co-Founder, Scrapp.

The Role of Entrepreneurs in Building a Sustainable Future
December 6, 2023
12 - 1 p.m. EST

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This month’s webinar is a special edition, focusing on the pivotal role that innovators and entrepreneurs play in addressing some of the world’s most complex and pressing problems. You will hear from Dr. Paige Balcom '16, Co-Founder, Co-CEO and CTO of Takataka Plastics, as well as have a ringside seat for the announcement of the winners of the 2023 UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) and learn about the range of exciting concepts developed by some of UNH’s most passionate and talented students. This is the ultimate “inspiration prescription” – an hour guaranteed to give us all hope amid the dark days of winter!

About Paige

UNH alumna Dr. Paige Balcom ’16 has been named the 2023 Social Innovator of the Year by the University of New Hampshire. The award is among the university’s most prestigious, recognizing leaders with a demonstrated commitment to combining the purpose of a social and/or environmental mission with the rigor and accountability of a financially sustainable, scalable model for change. 

Paige’s award as Social Innovator of the Year is especially meaningful as the Londonderry, NH native was a 2015 SVIC winner, part of an interdisciplinary team, Project OASIS, who presented the idea to provide families with fresh vegetables and fish-based protein by developing a low cost, easily maintainable aquaponics system that runs on renewable energy. Paige graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2016 and has been making an impact ever since. 

Paige holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley where she focused on Energy Science and Technology & Development Engineering. She has a deep passion for using engineering and entrepreneurship to create jobs and help improve people’s lives. Paige is also a lecturer at Gulu University in Uganda.

Paige pitched on Shark Tank and has received several fellowships and awards including those from the National Science Foundation, UC Berkeley, Fulbright Program, USAID, the Institute of International Education, and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize.

The Future of the Transportation Transition
November 15, 2023
12 - 1 p.m. EST

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Transportation accounts for almost 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor of U.S. GHG emissions. As the urgency of the climate crisis becomes ever more apparent, the auto industry is accelerating their transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs) bringing growing choices for consumers and organizations for fleet vehicles. At the same time, many complexities and issues remain – consumers’ range anxiety, widespread availability of charging stations, and environmental impact of battery materials to name but a few.

In this webinar you will have the opportunity to learn from executives working at the heart of the EV transition – executives who have worked for some of the world’s largest automakers, consultants, entrepreneurs and innovators, to unpack and understand trends in the EV space. Speakers include:

  • John Jorn Stech '93, Founder & Principal Shiftgate Consulting
  • Daniel Zube '05, Entrepreneur & Inventor
  • Daniel C. Zotos '14, Senior Manager of Public Affairs & Advocacy, Redwood Materials

The State of Sustainability 2023: How Leaders are Responding

October 19, 2023
12 - 1 p.m. EST

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Our dynamic panel of UNH alumni, who are sustainability leaders for a range of organizations across sectors, will help us take a broad perspective and the long view. Together, we'll discuss what is on the horizon, grapple with some key issues, and take a look at trends and opportunities. 

  • Catherine A. Saunders ‘83, Head of Corporate Sustainability and Public Policy, Putnam Investments
  • Ryan McPherson '96, Chief Sustainability Officer, University at Buffalo
  • Ted Lague ‘11, Director of ESG, Merchants Fleet

October 27, 2022
12:00-12:45 p.m. EST
Celebrating 25 years of sustainability at UNH

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25 years ago, UNH set out to be one of the most sustainable universities in the country. Because of a collaborative commitment, today we’re rated 5th and still going strong! It’s no secret we all need each other to solve the sustainability challenges of our time. In this kick-off event, we'll bring you creative ideas, diverse perspectives on trends and knowledge from your fellow Wildcats that you can use in your personal and professional lives. Hear from Tom Kelly, founding Executive Director of the Sustainability Institute and Chief Sustainability Officer, who will share reflections on 25 years of leadership, and the path ahead. Tom will be joined for a conversation with UNH alumni Clara Miller ’72, President Emerita of the F.B. Heron Foundation, a recognized leader in advancing economic opportunity for people and communities, and Austin Perea ’13, Manager, New York Policy and Market Development, Arcadia, an innovative company advancing community solar and other decarbonization efforts.

December 7, 2022
12:00-12:45 p.m. EST
Sustainable Goods & Holiday Gift Giving

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There is power in purchasing. This month, learn how your voice can be heard through purchasing sustainable goods during the holidays, and year-round. You’ll hear from UNH alumni who are leading experts in sustainability in the field of consumer goods. They’ll share diverse perspectives on key trends, and you’ll gain practical knowledge about purchasing sustainably that you can use professionally and personally. Guest alumni speakers include:

  • Betsy Blaisdell ’99, Director, Supply Chain Decarbonization, Guidehouse
  • K. Corley Kenna ’00, Head of Communications and Policy, Patagonia 
  • Jason McBriarty '92, Director of Communications and Operations, Controller for the Levi Strauss Foundation, the corporate foundation of Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.)
  • Matt O’Connor ’92, Senior Director of National Sales at Cotopaxi, a company that creates sustainably designed outdoor gear that fuels both adventure and global change

January 11, 2023
12:00-1:00 p.m. EST
Sustainable & Renewable Energy

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COP 27, the United Nations climate change conference in November 2022 has been gaining a great deal of media coverage, but what does this mean for you professionally and personally? While there is now broad acknowledgement of the urgent need to scale up our global response to climate change, navigating the options and knowing how you can best contribute, can be overwhelming. In this webinar alumni who work in the sustainable and renewable energy field will help demystify the sustainable energy landscape and share actionable insights. Guest alumni speakers include: 

  • Dan Clapp '00, Co-Founder, ReVision Energy
  • Tricia Dinkel '12G, Director, Cleantech Navigate Northeast at Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC)
  • Charlotte Harris '18, Trade Officer, Offshore Wind and Clean Energy – Northern Powerhouse, British Consulate-General Boston 
  • Scott MacDonald '90, Vice President and Managing Director, Usource - a Nextera Energy Company

February 15, 2023
12:00-1:00 p.m. EST
Sustainable Investing

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How we invest our money can be even more powerful than the products we choose to buy in shaping a sustainable future. Sustainable investing, where investors combine traditional investment approaches with environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) insights, has seen substantial growth over the last few years, now accounting for over 35% of professionally managed assets around the globe. Investors are choosing to align their portfolios with a sustainable future by selecting investments, not solely for the potential for short-term financial gain, but also on what and how those investments can contribute to society. Join us as alumni experts in the field of sustainable investing discuss what these trends mean for you and your own investing. Guest alumni speakers include:

March 21, 2023
12:00-1:00 p.m. EST
Sustainable Food & Food Systems

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Food is fundamental to human well-being and dignity. This month we’ll explore how food connects all aspects of our world and how foundational it is for sustainability. With the help of a panel of UNH alumni working in different parts of the food system we'll discuss what this means for you, personally and professionally. Guest speakers include:

  • Eileen Liponis '95, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank
  • Aaron Neiderhelman '97, Co-Founder, OneHealthAg
  • Matt Smith '08, Research Program Lead, USDA National Agroforestry Center

June 6, 2023
12:00-1:00 p.m. EST
Series Wrap-up
Looking Forward: UNH’s 2030 Sustainability Vision

UNH is a proud national leader in sustainability - and our work is not done!

Our public service mission, our commitment to our students and community partners demands that we more fully engage with local and global efforts to confront the accelerating climate and biodiversity crises; and in ways that centers human rights and equity to ensure a just transition.

A shared vision is essential to the development of a strategic roadmap, to define and guide the sustainability investments and initiatives that will be needed across all aspects of our public mission, and so UNH is developing a 2030 Sustainability Vision.

As alumni, we value your thoughts and ideas to help ensure that the vision is bold, grounded, and inspirational. During this interactive webinar, UNH President James Dean Jr., as well as leadership of the UNH Sustainability Institute, will provide an overview of the vision developed by the Sustainability Task Force, followed by an invitation to share your ideas.