Virginia Chapman, head of many campus ‘greening’ efforts, named director of sustainability

Virginia Chapman, who has worked during her career at Yale to “green” the campus, will serve as the next director of sustainability at Yale, effective Nov. 18.

“In her current role as director of facilities sustainable initiatives, Ginger has provided leadership within the Office of Facilities on a number of key strategies including sustainable building design and construction, the development of the Sustainability Supplement to the Framework for Campus Planning and the Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan, as well as more sustainable land use practices,” wrote John Bollier, associate vice president for facilities, and Martha Highsmith, special adviser to the Yale president, in a join announcement to the Yale community.

A graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, Chapman has been at Yale since 1995. Prior to her most recent position, she was director of facilities planning & construction at Yale School of Medicine, where she directed project management staff in the development and execution of capital projects responding to the research, clinical, and educational mission of the school — with planning and design of laboratory renovations as the major focus of her work.

Chapman has been a key participant in many of Yale’s sustainability initiatives over the years. Due to her work at the medical school to “green” laboratory renovations, she was tapped to lead the committee that created Yale’s “Sustainable Design Requirements,” which were adopted in 2009 and continue to guide Yale’s sustainable design and construction practices. Chapman was a member of the Advisory Committee for Environmental Management, the committee that spurred Yale’s university-wide focus on sustainability and led to the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2005.

“The staff of the Office of Sustainability will join Ginger in Facilities, further strengthening the collaboration with many of the operating groups responsible for implementing major initiatives of the Sustainability Strategic Plan,” said Bollier and Highsmith. “Under Ginger’s leadership, the Office of Sustainability will continue its close partnerships with dining, purchasing, finance and business operations, transportation, the professional schools, and other key academic and administrative units across campus.”

In addition, a newly created Sustainability Advisory Council is being established to help further advance sustainability throughout the university. Co-chaired by Professors Michelle Addington and Brad Gentry, the council is charged with helping to integrate academic, administrative and operational approaches to sustainability. The council will serve as a clearinghouse for faculty interested in engaging in research based on the Yale campus; consult with the Office of Sustainability on strategy and best practices; and advise the Yale president on areas where Yale can continue to demonstrate leadership among the university’s peers, in the United States and internationally.

“With the next phase of the Sustainability Strategic Plan to be officially released later this month, a dedicated and knowledgeable staff in the Office of Sustainability, strong partners across the campus, and new administrative and academic leadership, Yale is renewing its commitment to sustainability for the present and into the future,” concluded Bollier and Highsmith.