Sugg spearheaded many sustainable campus programs
THE SANTA CLARA
November 13, 2014
Joe Sugg, an older gentleman from the South, steadily walked into the Facilities building conference room, choosing the seat in the very center of a seven-foot table to park his lanky body. He stretched his arms for 10 seconds and said in his deep calm voice he was ready to talk.
Sugg, Santa Clara’s assistant vice president of university operations, oversees building management, construction, energy use and waste management on campus.
After having worked at Santa Clara for the past 19 years, Sugg will step down from his position next week.
Sugg grew up on a farm in Arkansas where his family grew vegetables in their garden, ate fresh meat and free range chicken eggs, and drank fresh milk. According to Sugg, his upbringing in a sustainable environment inspired him to pursue a career in sustainability.
“Joe was instrumental in creating the Center for Sustainability, the Forge (Garden), drinking fountains to fill up water bottles, (a system to use) recycled water, sustainable residence halls and probably much more,” said Iris Stewart-Frey, chair of the Environmental Studies and Sciences Department.
Originally hired as director of Facilities, Sugg reorganized and expanded facilities to include Campus Safety Services. In the late 1990s, Sugg planned to make campus structures more energy efficient and spearheaded a campus recycling program.
Under his leadership, in 2003, Santa Clara joined the South Bay Water Recycling program — a municipal organization in San Jose that provides sustainable drinking water to South Bay cities — to irrigate campus lawns with recycled water.
“There were a lot of individuals who were concerned with our conservation and recycling and social justice and the economics of doing things in a sustainable manner, but nobody had put it all together,” said Sugg,“so we went in spits and spurts.”
Sugg and Amy Shachter, senior associate provost for research and faculty affairs, established an ad hoc committee and wrote a proposed campus sustainability policy. Former University President Paul Locatelli, S.J., approved and enacted the policy 10 years ago.
In 2006, a sustainability coordinator was hired to foster collaboration on campus for green practices.
Chris Shay, director of facilities and capital planning at Stanford University, will take Sugg’s position on Nov. 17.
“Joe Sugg is a visionary and exemplary leader in all facets of running of a modern university,” Shay said. “Among individuals in my profession we universally look up to Joe and follow many of the practices that he has pioneered.Without a doubt, Santa Clara University has specifically benefited greatly from Joe’s leadership in the field of sustainability.”