The Violets are going green with the recent appointment of Cecil Scheib to the position of assistant vice president for Sustainability. NYU announced on Jan. 9 that alongside Director of the Office of Sustainability Dianne Anderson, Scheib will spearhead future sustainability initiatives on campus.
Scheib previously served as NYU director of Energy and Sustainability starting in 2007, but left the position in 2012 when he was appointed managing director of the Building Resiliency Task Force for the City of New York and chief program officer for the Urban Green Council. Prior to his original position at NYU, Scheib earned a Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University.
In a statement to the community, President Andrew Hamilton echoed the university’s commitment to combat climate change and framed Scheib’s appointment as crucial in future efforts.
“[NYU] is committed to continue taking concrete actions to reduce its carbon footprint; to make sustainability a higher priority within our community, both individually and institutionally; to operate more sustainably; and to be a sustainability leader in higher education,” the statement read. “The appointment of Cecil Scheib as the assistant vice president for Sustainability is an important step in realizing those goals.”
Scheib expressed his excitement about the position in a statement to WSN.
“I’m thrilled to return to NYU in this sustainability role,” Scheib said. “Everyone’s been incredibly welcoming and it feels like coming home.”
One of NYU’s most prominent climate activist groups, NYU Divest, expressed support for Scheib’s hiring and hopes that his appointment will facilitate the group’s future activism.
“We really look forward to working with him and [Anderson] on decarbonizing NYU and aligning its Climate Action Plan with the imperatives of climate justice,” NYU Divest wrote in a statement to WSN. “We hope that university executives listen to [Scheib] and the community, and NYU faithfully implements our shared vision of a just transition to renewable energy.”
Alternate Student Senator for Sustainability and head of the student organization EcoReps Edin Thornton had a similarly optimistic reaction.
“This appointment is yet another step in the right direction for making sustainability successful at NYU,” Thornton said. “Mr. Scheib will be able to carry on sustainability efforts in a continuous and intentional way, and his hiring signifies a meaningful and definitive commitment toward permanently advancing sustainability at NYU, made by the highest levels of our university.”
In spite of its urban location, NYU has made strides in reducing its carbon footprint in recent years. NYU opened a cogeneration plant in 2011, and according to the statement regarding Scheib’s hiring, NYU met its 30 percent carbon reduction commitment ahead of schedule.
Despite this recent progress, Scheib is well aware that the threat of climate change is more pressing than ever before and that the university’s efforts are far from complete.
“With the knowledge we’ve all gained in the five years since I left, and building on the great work over the past five years of the Office of Sustainability, I hope we can do even more,” Scheib said. “The campus community is increasingly aware of issues of climate change, resiliency and equity and environmental justice. This will give us lots of new opportunities to improve our campus as well as experiences that will persist long after college.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 22 print edition. Email Alex Domb at [email protected]