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Office of Sustainability
University of Mississippi

Meet the Office of Sustainability

Ian 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 Master 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 the 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.

Kendall McDonald, Associate Director

Kendall joined the University of Mississippi in 2015 and was appointed Associate Director of the Office of Sustainability in 2020. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and graduate studies in social work. Her interests are in the human dynamics that comprise organizations, and how to design resilient human systems on a changing planet. In 2015, Kendall was recognized by the Udall Foundation for environmental leadership.

She is a homegrown Mississippi native, with roots in Oxford and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Beyond her work, Kendall spends most of her time fixing up a uniquely storied 1830s home in Holly Springs, Mississippi with her husband, making pottery, and cleaning up after her dog, Ophelia.


Nichalus Vali, Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant

Nich is a graduate student in the M.A. Philosophy program at Ole Miss. He has interned and volunteered with the Delta Health Alliance in Leland, MS to promote literacy and academic achievement via STEM lessons and enrichment activities with 1st – 5th grade Leland Elementary students as a part of the Deer Creek Promise Community’s mission to revitalize historically underprivileged communities in Washington county. He has also served the public as a Deputy Criminal Clerk at the Desoto County Justice Court, where he worked to promote the highest levels of quality and access to court services to defendants, attorneys, law enforcement, and other interested parties. Nich’s interest in sustainability is derived from an aesthetic and recreational interest in natural spaces and an ethical imperative to understand and reinforce the value relationships between the environment and human systems reliant upon it to bring well-being to individuals and their communities. His goal is to complete his master’s program in Philosophy, focusing on the relationship between environmental ethics, politics, and justice. Ultimately, he intends to earn a J.D. and center on sustainability in a future legal career. Outside of school, he enjoys hunting, target shooting, and trying plant-based food alternatives.

Tiara Malone, Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant

Tiara Malone is pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work. Her diverse background in communications has prepared her for this dynamic field. Malone studied Communications, Media, and Theatre at the undergraduate level with a double major in interdisciplinary studies. Her primary focus being writing for media, primarily for the stage and screen. Malone studied Creative Writing for the stage at the graduate level but ultimately decided to pursue creative non-fiction writing. Her writing tends to focus on ideas of social structures and human behavior there within. In 2020, Malone received a yearlong fellowship with the Periplus Collective. Her writing has been published with Prairie Schooner, ANMLY, Hennepin Review and the Peauxdunque Review. Her stageplays have been read in Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans. In 2021, Malone released her literary debut, a lyrical memoir titled All The Healing Places. She plans to continue her writing pursuits while also practicing art therapy. Her ultimate goal is philanthropy and civic engagement. Malone is an optimistic learner who enjoys nature, diy projects, and reality television in her leisure time. 


Fall 2023 Green Student Interns

Vishnu Gadepalli, Compost Collective Coordinator 

Vishnu Gadepalli is a freshman from Oxford, MS, majoring in Law Studies with sights of attending law school and pursuing environmental law. Through the Office of Sustainability he is interning as Compost Collective Coordinator and will be working closely with not only the other interns, but also with the multiple dining locations on campus by collecting their compost. As a Green Student Intern, Vishnu intends to hone his leadership skills by becoming a further empowered advocate of the preservation and conservation of nature and to additionally become more aware and knowledgeable of the issues plaguing the environment and utilize the skills he acquires and incorporate them in his professional endeavors. In his free time, Vishnu enjoys listening to music, playing soccer, and spending time outside. 


Abdul Wahab Ahmed, Communications Coordinator

Abdul Wahab is a freshman from Lahore, Pakistan, pursuing a major in Computer Science and a minor in Digital Media Studies. At the Office of Sustainability he collaborates closely with a graduate assistant to amplify the office’s outreach efforts and enhance its online footprint. Throughout his academic journey, Abdul Wahab has nurtured his passion for visual arts by participating in Art and Design classes. Presently, he dedicates his leisure time to learning digital design softwares, watching films, and spending time with his family.

His creative inclinations also extend to his interest in photography, and writing. While his prior engagement with sustainability initiatives might be limited, Abdul Wahab views his internship at the Office of Sustainability as a great opportunity for personal growth and learning. This role seamlessly aligns with his academic pursuits and passions, enabling him to integrate his interest in digital design with the pursuit of sustainable practices.


Ember Reysen, Green Grove Co-Coordinator 

Ember Reysen is a sophomore from Oxford, Mississippi, majoring in Computer Science. During her first semester at the Office of Sustainability, Ember will be working as a co-coordinator for Green Grove to promote recycling at Ole Miss home games. Before arriving at Ole Miss, Ember was actively involved in sustainability efforts by volunteering at Grove cleanups and recycling clubs. During her freshman year, she enjoyed volunteering with the Office of Sustainability for Green Grove and Earth Month. Now, she is excited to continue her sustainability endeavors in the workplace. In her free time, Ember enjoys playing video games, playing with her chihuahua, trying new recipes, and spending time with her family.


David Smith, Jr., Green Grove Co-Coordinator 

David Smith Jr.  and is a senior public policy leadership major at University of Mississippi minoring in journalism and philosophy. Smith hails from the Mississippi Delta and DeSoto County, MS. Smith is one of the fall Green Grove Co-Coordinators for the Office of Sustainability. Smith is involved in many organizations on campus such as: UM College Democrats, Men of Excellence, Rallying Against Sexual Assault, Black Student Union, Blacks in Political Studies, UM NAACP, and the Lott Leadership Institute. Smith also serves as the Campus Equity/Advocacy Senator in the Associated Student Body,  serving on the Student Life and Housing committees. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to obsolete music. In the future, Smith hopes to attend the University of Mississippi School of Law and then achieve a master’s degree in public policy from Minnesota or Texas. 


Syd Woodard, Campus Garden Coordinator 

Syd is a senior from Paducah, Kentucky, double majoring in Chinese and International Studies and minoring in Russian. Syd is a returning intern, previously working as part of the Compost Auxiliary Staff. Syd will be working at the UM Garden this semester in order to provide much needed infrastructure and maintenance in hopes of expanding student and faculty use of the space. Syd spent her childhood gardening with her mother and going to her grandparent’s farm. This gave her a close relationship with the outdoors, as well as an appreciation for homegrown produce. Syd is currently writing a thesis dedicated to Taiwanese recycling programs, and she hopes to continue this passion into her future career by bolstering sustainability efforts in the government. Syd is also a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi, and is an active volunteer at the Ford Center. In her free time, Syd enjoys cooking, studying languages, sewing, and taking care of her bonsai.