Introduction: Elena Dulys, Sustainability Coordinator

The definition of sustainability speaks of outcome, and not of how we get to the outcome.  Sustainability is a work in progress, and it is the work of many people working together. With food especially, as eating is an ongoing and agricultural act, moving toward a reliable and holistic food system is arguably one of the most paramount needs of our day. As a society, we often think of choices and the taste of what is on our plate without thinking of where these resources came from.  Making the transition to food consciousness through logistical planning and implementation is where I will come in as a servant to the Virginia Tech community.

Our previous Sustainability Coordinators in Housing & Dining Services were pioneers for this university, and I hope to come close to their accomplishments. Rachael Budowle, our last coordinator, will be sorely missed. The accomplishments of this position’s history are impressive: through our previous two coordinators, Dining has ushered in a robust composting program touting hundreds of tons of waste diverted every year, the Farms & Fields Project in Owens Food Court, the ever-expanding Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm, and the Virginia Harvest Celebration Meal–much of which in only the past 12 months. Through their organizational work we as a community have saved hundreds of tons of waste, helped facilitate food donations to the local community, promote healthy dining that strengthens local economy, and so much more. I am honored to have worked for our past two coordinators and I hope that this list will continue to grow as time goes on.

For sustainability programs to succeed, collaboration and partnerships are key. I hope to continue the relationships I forged as an undergraduate being a part of some of campus’s largest and most influential organizations: I served as an officer in the Residence Hall Federation, representative on the Student Government Association, educational officer the Sustainable Food Corps, and I was president of the Environmental Coalition on campus for a term. I bring to the table an understanding of student life, issues, and concerns. My degree earned in the College of Architecture & Urban Studies provides me with insight to energy, political, economic, and social issues. I have experience as a farm worker, an intern at a community viability organization, and as an amateur teacher of English for Spanish-Speakers as well as Agriculture. I only hope to expand my perspective and understanding with regards to others, and I invite students into an open discussion over sustainability programs that would not exist without their passion, regard, and action.

With that, I give you a warm welcome back to campus. Though I am no longer a student, I will do my best to address student concerns and work for the Virginia Tech community as a servant in the area of dining sustainability. I look forward to meeting new faces and keeping Virginia Tech Dining cutting edge while improving the land, air, and water for future generations.

Welcome back and go Hokies!

Elena Dulys

Sustainability Coordinator for Housing & Dining Services

Virginia Tech

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