September 16, 2014

Shrestha is UNL's first sustainability coordinator

Prabhakar Shrestha

Prabhakar Shrestha

Prabhakar “Prabs” Shrestha has been hired as UNL’s first sustainability coordinator. The position is designed to lead the university to achieve sustainability goals.

Shrestha, the first social scientist hired to be a sustainability coordinator among Big Ten cohorts, has worked for six years as UNL’s recycling coordinator — a graduate student position. He also served as a teaching and research assistant for the Department of Agriculture Economics.

He initiated the “Go Green for Big Red” recycling campaign for Husker football games. During his tenure as recycling coordinator, UNL’s recycling level of all waste expanded from 34 percent to 51 percent.

As sustainability coordinator, Shrestha will be responsible for the development and promotion of sustainability strategies. He will reach out to local and national organizations, and funding agencies, and he will manage the UNL’s Sustainability Commission, established by Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

The commission will work to establish the Office of Sustainability, initiate the Sustainability and Energy Education program for the university community, develop UNL’s first sustainability plan and work with the community to enhance UNL’s sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability is not only about investment and investment of new technology,” Shrestha said. “It’s about how to gather people around the common cause of being sustainable.”

Being the only social scientist in the position, Shrestha said his main research is about how to motivate people to help the environment. Engineers and communications people fill most sustainability positions.

Shrestha said he wants to make UNL as “green” as possible.

Recently, ranked UNL ninth for sustainability among all schools included in the Associated Press’ 2014 preseason Top 25 NCAA football poll. Fellow Big Ten university Ohio State was third.

While the ranking is positive, Shrestha isn’t one to be satisfied with the ninth spot and wants UNL to work to be No. 1.

Shrestha said he is passionate about what he does and looks forward to working as the first sustainability coordinator at UNL. He hopes to tap into students’ interest to help advance UNL toward sustainability goals.