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Heights Person of the Year

“every generation needs a new revolution.” —thomas jefferson, third president of the united states

EcoPledge Senior Leadership Selected as
Heights Person of the Year

EcoPledge leaders

Merril Putnam, Jessica Young, Peggy Fox, Katherine Walsh, and Katherine Cava are extraordinary young women whose selection as “Person of the Year” by the Heights shows that concern for the environment has gone mainstream. Executive Vice President Patrick Keating noted that the Office of Dean of Student Development chose EcoPledge as winner of the “Ever to Excel” award and selected Katherine Walsh for the Skills Award: Leadership this year. “The recognition and honors they have received are truly deserved. These students are examples of outstanding student leadership at Boston College.”

Administrators from Residential Life, Facilities Management, and Dining Services also have praise for their efforts, which have helped BC become greener. Even more importantly, the group’s influence will have lasting effects, as recycling and energy conservation initiatives they have promoted will continue to have a positive impact on the environment when practiced by classmates both at BC and beyond.

George Arey, Associate Director of Residential Life, said that the group “has displayed a phenomenal passion for transforming the culture around sustainability at BC and has led the charge for creating an educated student population.” He has worked most closely with Jess Young, who has been a Resident Assistant for two years. “She has taken on the charge as leader of EcoPledge while balancing duties as an RA with her academic obligations.” Arey singled out Young’s ability as an educator, noting that her ideas and initiatives were evident in Resident Life programming, and her enthusiasm had brought a number of the RAs on board with educational initiatives on sustainability issues.

Richard Range, a manager in Housekeeping Services who has worked with Katherine Walsh and Katherine Cava to increase recycling on campus, believes that it will be hard to fill their shoes after they graduate. “Katherine Walsh has been a diligent and very enthusiastic advocate for environmental issues on campus, while Katherine Cava has worked endlessly to implement new recycling programs for tailgating and in residence halls.”

Gina Bellavia, Associate Director of Grounds and Athletic Maintenance, has worked with Merril Putnam this past year to research the practice of xeriscaping for future use in landscaping at BC. Bellavia has assisted with Putnam’s volunteer effort to start an organic garden this summer. Putnam also spearheaded recycling efforts at McElroy that included food composting. Director of Dining Helen Wechsler said, “She was a catalyst for the composting project, and it was her determination and tenacity that made it work for Dining. She was also an understanding and thoughtful collaborator.”

The Director of Sustainability and Energy Management, Deirdre Manning, praised Peggy Fox’s big picture and visionary leadership and noted how effective her partnership with faculty and staff was in implementing positive changes at BC. “Each member of the group has leveraged available resources, whether through EcoPledge and UGBC, faculty, or administrators to achieve more than she could have done alone. Working with these young women has been the highlight of my job. They are true agents of change.”