Students and Alumni Share their Passion for Sustainable Design
An Event Mounted by the Sustainable Urban Environments Program Draws Faithful Alumni — and a Keynote Speaker with Strong Tandon Ties
“Back when I was at Tandon earning my master’s degree in environmental engineering, I was unaware of the possibilities of studying Sustainable Urban Environments,” alumnus Olabisi Kenku recalled. “Had I known, I might definitely have taken some courses in the program.” Since graduating from NYU Tandon in 2013, Kenku has forged a rewarding career with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and recently returned to Tandon for an alumni event hosted by the Sustainable Urban Environments (SUE) program. Organized by SUE students Kylie McDowell and Rupal Mehta, and overseen by Rich Wener, director of the SUE program and faculty member in the Department of Technology, Culture, and Society, the event brought together alumni and students for an evening of conversation surrounding sustainable urban design in cities like New York.
“For a university program to be successful, it must address not only the needs of its current students but also the needs and interests of the school’s alumni,” Wener said, explaining the impetus for arranging the evening. To that end he invited David Miller, a former mayor of Toronto and President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, to give a keynote address on the importance of sustainability in urban design. As attendees pointed out, Miller — who has taught at Tandon and once took his entire class of capstone students to Toronto to view sustainability initiatives there — spoke from a position of enviable expertise; under his guidance Toronto had become a global leader on the environmental issues facing all cities and he now is the North America Regional Director and C40 Cities Ambassador for Inclusive Climate Action.
“It was a really impressive presentation,” Kenku, who served as host and facilitator during the evening’s roundtable discussion that preceded Miller’s talk, asserted. “It was one highlight in an evening of many. I got the opportunity to give back to Tandon by volunteering, saw an old classmate, networked with other graduates working in my field, and heard from a renowned authority on a topic of great interest. All in all, it was a very gratifying experience on many levels.”