Blaser named new OSU sustainability coordinator
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Kristeena Blaser has always been interested in protecting the environment and now, her work focuses on it.
Blaser is the new Oklahoma State University sustainability coordinator, coming with a wealth of experience earned in a short time. Since earning her master’s degree in environmental studies from Ohio University in 2017, Blaser has been working in the university realm and the nonprofit world.
“Once I found the opportunity for Oklahoma State, I started to look into the university a little bit more, and there are a lot of similarities with what I was doing at Ohio University. I loved my opportunity there and wanted to sort of model my careers off my experience there,” Blaser said.
While Blaser has spent most of her life in Ohio, but some time in New York and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sparked her passion for the outdoors.
At Ohio, Blaser focused mostly on environmental climate change and sustainability politics. In graduate school, she worked as a tree care coordinator, student geographic information system technician, special projects manager and a research assistant. Her work included developing an anaerobic digestion system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, overseeing the implementation of a campus sustainability fee and recommending optimal canopy cover based on a tree inventory she created.
“Sustainability is sort of broken up into multiple subcategories like waste and recycling, food, energy, water conservation, all that kind of stuff,” Blaser said. “At a university, you have a lot of those initiatives, but you are doing them more for the focus of students and to improve current conditions that exist at the university.”
In the professional realm, Blaser has worked as the sustainability coordinator for Aramark, the food service provider at Kent State University, helping implement several recycling initiatives on campus. Blaser later directed the nonprofit Negev Foundation in Cleveland.
Blaser will be taking over for Ilda Hershey, whose work has made OSU the only university in Oklahoma to make The Princeton Review’s 2021 Green Colleges List.
Hershey, who is retiring, believes Blaser will do well.
“I feel like I’ll be able to relax a little better in retirement knowing that Kristeena will be taking over as sustainability coordinator,” she said. “Kristeena’s experience with university best practices and her enthusiasm for good stewardship will help OSU reach even higher ground.”
Blaser said she will maintain the current program until she finds a plan that adapts well to OSU.
“The cool thing about sustainability is it is always changing and adapting to whatever the current society is needing, so there is always new technology being put out and new energy conservation methods or water conservation methods available,” Blaser said.
Blaser will be working in the new Central Plant building. She officially started her new job on Thursday.
“You are working to improve not just the overall environment that students are going to be in, but the future environments that future students are going to be in,” Blaser said. “You want to make sure you have a positive lasting impact on the environment and the students themselves to potentially create a safer, healthier environment, but maybe also create some future sustainability professionals as well.”
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