Alison Ormsby is the director of sustainability and lecturer in environmental studies at UNC Asheville.
What’s a local sustainability initiative that you think is going well?
At UNC Asheville, we have a wonderful grounds department that cares for our native habitat. We’ve been recognized as a Tree Campus USA and Bee Campus USA. We have a “bee hotel” on campus, right next to a pollinator meadow. We connect our curriculum to these wonderful outdoor spaces.
What is one piece of environmental legislation or policy change that you would like to see Asheville/Buncombe County make?
I believe that our city and county really need to safeguard our natural environment and the tree cover we already have. This will make us more climate resilient and avoid future flooding and rising temperatures. Having a stronger tree protection policy is the first step. (On a smaller scale, implementing a curbside compost collection program would also be great.)
What is your university’s preferred method for educating the community about its environmental mission?
At UNC Asheville, sustainability is infused in many places. Our student-run Student Environmental Center coordinates the weeklong Greenfest programming every spring and fall in collaboration with many departments. We also have a sustainability certificate program, open to all majors. We educate through many different events and locations — our campus gardens, invited speakers, social media, etc.
Where do you go to enjoy the outdoors?
UNC Asheville connects with the Reed Creek Greenway and Botanical Gardens. It’s wonderful to be able to take students on a walking field trip.