Sustainability Team Welcomes New Data Manager

Stephen Ellissustainability@BU is excited to announce the addition of Stephen Ellis as the new data manager to the team. His background in sustainability and great familiarity with higher education has already proven to be a great asset to the University.

As the data manager, Stephen’s primary responsibility is to report the University’s sustainability and climate actions through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). “In order to do this, I am required to collect, manage, and analyze data for the institution that ranges from academics and campus engagement to operations and administration,” he said.

Prior to coming to BU, Stephen served as the Climate Programs Manager at Second Nature, a nonprofit focused on accelerating climate action in and through higher education, for over three years. There he supported the program logistics and retention for over 500 colleges and universities—signatories of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments—while managing reported GHG inventories and institutional data for internal tracking and external grant reports.

“I wanted to work with higher education first before actually working in this sector. From my work experience at Second Nature, I am able to draw upon a nationwide perspective on how to approach climate action in higher education. I was inspired to make a career change at that moment when I felt I was ready to be back on a college campus. I knew that I would be interested in working at an institution where senior leadership values sustainability and climate action, and there is a dedicated team that I believe that I have found at BU with Dennis and Lisa.”

Stephen’s personal commitment to sustainability dates back to his college days. During his pursuit of a BS degree in Environmental Science from the University at Albany, SUNY, he was heavily involved with the campus’ sustainability initiatives.

“One of my most fond memories of being involved with campus sustainability was breaking into the campus lecture halls just to turn off the lights. Surprisingly, something ‘illegal’ managed to become a part-time job for me while at SUNY Albany.” There he served as a Student Energy Check Officer, conducting weekly energy checks in the academic buildings to inform faculty and staff of the energy usage, which led to 15% reduction in the total electricity consumption of the lecture halls.

Serving as Energy Chair on the Student Environmental Sustainability Council, Stephen was awarded the 2012 SUNY Emerging Leaders Award by Energy Smart NY. These experiences, together with his other work for Residential Life, Orientation, and the Office for Student Affairs to further the sustainability mission, earned him the 2012 President’s Award for Sustainability Leadership.

Taking this interest in sustainability to graduate school, he furthered his knowledge on sustainable development from a national perspective at American University in Washington, DC, and then explored sustainable development practices on an international level at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Throughout his graduate programming, his coursework involved analyzing data related to energy, eco-labels, and sustainable tourism. This is where sustainability meets data, and it links him to this career.

Sustainability Director, Lisa Tornatore thinks Stephen is an asset to BU, “Stephen brings such an awesome, fresh perspective to our team. I really enjoy working with him. Not only is he fun and smart, he is extremely dedicated to data collection and management and ensuring we are reporting quality data on behalf of the University.”

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