New on Campus: Sustainability Director Nick DeSalvo

Nicholas DeSalvo has been hired as the director of sustainability initiatives for the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, a new position. DeSalvo will be based on the Moravian campus in the Facility Services building, but will oversee sustainability efforts at Moravian College, Lehigh University, and DeSales University.

DeSalvo already has many ideas for innovative and eco-friendly projects but also anticipates the challenges of working with three institutions, each with its own culture and level of sustainability. "Part of my role will be to create bridges or connections between the different groups," he said.

DeSalvo hopes to work with both student environmental organizations, such as Moravian's Environmental Coalition, and staff members to facilitate a dialogue between the three schools. While his short-term plans are filled with quick fixes like switching to sensor lighting in classrooms and shutting down communal computers when not in use, DeSalvo has bigger plans for the future. Within the next decade, he hopes that "sustainability will be embedded into the organizations' DNA"—i.e., sustainability will be so integral to Moravian, Lehigh, and DeSales that students, faculty, and staff will naturally make environmentally responsible choices.

By then, Moravian also will see significant savings from the changes they make now and over the next few years. DeSalvo plans not only to internalize a concept of sustainability, but also to create monetary savings.

"It's satisfying work," he said. "At the end of the day you can say you've accomplished something good for the environment and also, from a business standpoint, have helped an organization operate more efficiently." Over the next several months, DeSalvo hopes to have a definitive set of both short- and long-term goals, another step for Moravian on the path toward self-sustainability.—Kelly Fackenthall '12