Episode 4 - Interview with Director of Sustainability at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida
This episode is brought to you by the three Ps: People, Planet, and Profit. Valencia’s Director of Sustainability, Resham Shirsat, joins the hosts in-studio to chat about sustainability and how it intersects with social entrepreneurship. She is also a fellow member of Jerrid’s Guiding Coalition who helped bring social entrepreneurship education to Valencia.
Resham’s passion for sustainability is driven by her own academic journey. As an undergraduate, she enrolled in an elective environmental class that changed her life. Resham credits the class for exposing her to some of the harmful ways profit was being earned at the expense of people and the planet. Ever since Resham has embraced the mission to grow the economy in a way that is socially equitable and environmentally viable.
Resham’s work with students includes holding presentations, facilitating workshops, advising a branch of the IDEAS student club, and working with Valencia’s Career Center. The outreach to the Career Center gives Resham the platform to educate students on the multitude of sustainable career paths. She believes sustainability is the fastest-growing job industry and employment in fields such as data management, information technology, and engineering will be essential to support the work.
Resham also shares news about Valencia’s upcoming Associates of Science degree program in Energy Management Controls Technology. A result of a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, students will utilize campus and community resources outside of the classroom to align their coursework with real-world applications.
Outside of Valencia, Resham participates in Orlando initiatives such as the Smart City Summit and the Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES) program. This participation allows her to support the city’s sustainability efforts by matching its needs with the college’s workforce development.
When reflecting on her role at the college, Resham defines her position as increasing revenue and protecting profits while doing good for people and the planet. She wants everyone to know that small changes in energy use and waste management can make a big difference. Every contribution towards sustainability counts. Rethink. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Links For more information on topics discussed during the show, see the list below.