Office of Sustainability

University of Mississippi

The Office of Sustainability

Definition of Sustainability

Sustainability is a multi-disciplinary, problem-solving approach to creating a social system that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations or the needs of the ecological systems in which humans exist.

By fostering education that encourages responsible and equitable management of our environmental, social and economic resources, the sustainability framework challenges our university to consider the interdependent nature of our lives, the natural environment, our communities and the economy and especially the improvement of these relationships.

This definition was researched and written by Jillian Cowart and Kendall McDonald as a part of their 2015 research thesis. 

Mission & Goals

“The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to be a catalyst for environmentally positive change by educating, connecting, and empowering the members of our community for the well-being of people and our ecological systems.”

To support its mission, the Office of Sustainability has constructed the following goals by which to measure its programming:
1. Foster change at the institutional level
2. Influence individual behavior and create a shared sustainability language 3. Understand and communicate sustainability indicators
4. Support leadership capacity and create co-curricular learning opportunities
5. Impact direct change and innovation
6. Diffuse sustainability into academic curriculum
7. Expand partnerships into the community



The Office of Sustainability was established in July 2008 after Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. By signing this commitment, Dr. Khayat publicly recognized the University’s commitment to the environment and sustainability. Chancellor Emeritus Dan Jones re-signed the President’s Climate Commitment in April 2014, committing to further the University’s efforts to combat global climate change. The university is now a signatory institution in the national Climate Leadership Network.

Meet our staff:

Photo by UM Photographer Kevin BainIan Banner, Director

In 2005, Ian was appointed Director of Facilities Planning and retains the position of University Architect, and Director of Sustainability. He holds a B.A. in Architecture from Plymouth University, a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. Ian was born in England and came to the United States in 1984.  He has professional and teaching experience having been in private practice with Shafer/Banner Architects from 1987 to 2002 and with the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University from 1987 to 1994.  He received tenure and the position of Associate Professor in 1994.

Ian’s areas of architectural expertise are in energy efficient design and construction, daylighting, passive systems such as thermal buoyancy “stack-effect” ventilation, and environmental impact of building materials selection.  He has written on architecture and the environment, indigenous houses in the Appalachians, natural lighting in overcast and clear sky regions, and humidity and ventilation of medieval buildings in northern Europe.


SKB_1952-ABAnne McCauley, Assistant Director

Anne joined the Office of Sustainability in October 2009 and works on efforts to move the Green Initiative forward. Prior to moving to Oxford, Anne worked for a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. She also was involved in planning an environmental communication campaign at George Mason University. Anne holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of the South and Masters in Public Administration from George Mason University.


headshotlindseyLindsey Abernathy, Project Manager

Lindsey joined the Office of Sustainability in September 2014. As project manager, Lindsey works extensively with the Green Student Intern Program, Green Grove Initiative, the UM Compost Program, Green Week and Food Day. She also manages office communications initiatives. Previously, Lindsey worked in public relations at the University of Mississippi where her she received national and regional recognition for social media management and a public relations campaign to promote the use of buses on campus. During this time, Lindsey often collaborated with the Office of Sustainability to promote and raise awareness of sustainability related issues and programs. Originally from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Lindsey holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA from UM. She and her husband, Andrew, live in Oxford with their two dogs, Sawyer and Hamilton Culpepper.


IMG_3206Kendall McDonald, Post Baccalaureate Fellow

Kendall, of Diamondhead, Mississippi, is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Leadership with minors in Environmental Studies and English. As Fellow, Kendall is interested in sustainability education and change agent empowerment. She works extensively with the Eco Reps residential leadership program.  Prior to joining the Office of Sustainability full time, Kendall helped coordinate and plan Green Week 2015 and 2014 as part of the office’s Green Student Intern Program. Kendall has worked for the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, a nonprofit concerned sustainable agriculture in the state. In 2014, she was as an Honorable Mention to the Udall Scholarship for her dedication to solving environmental issues. In her free time, Kendall enjoys making pottery, reading, and exploring local Oxford spots.

To learn more about the Post Baccalaureate Fellowship position, click here.


DBDenae Bradley, AmeriCorps VISTA

Denae, from Jackson, Mississippi, graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies. She is currently serving with the North Mississippi VISTA Project as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. She is expanding programs for youth at the Office of Sustainability, which involve education on environmental issues as well as providing better access to healthy and local food. She hopes to expand community gardens within the Lafayette County School District, while also jump-starting an environmental education traveling trunk program and allowing mobile markets to become more readily available to low-income families. In her free time, Denae enjoys traveling, DIY projects, trying new food, and thrift shopping.

To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA position with the Office of Sustainability, click here.