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Law faculty drives change

June 01, 2009

  • L to R: Lydia Loren, Theresa Wright, Juliet Stumpf, John Perry, Susan Scelza, Shannon Davis, Doreen Corwin (only see a portion of her face), Steve Kanter, Tom Buchele, Allison LaPlante, Lin Harmon & her dog Rosie, Chris Wold, and Dan Rohlf.

Janice Weis, associate dean and director of the law school’s environmental and natural resources program,  recently organized a photo shoot to call attention to the law school campus community members who drive hybrid cars. Here, Janice shares the story behind the photos…

A couple of years ago, law professor Steve Kanter told me he was noticing a steady increase of hybrid cars, especially Prius’s, parked in the law school’s faculty and staff parking area in addition to his own.  He suggested that the law school take a photo of the cars and their owners as he knew it would be an impressive array.  Then interim dean, Lydia Loren, concurred with this plan, noting that she too was a Prius driver.

I thought it was a terrific idea to gather those cars and their owners and take a picture to show how cutting-edge and eco-conscious our faculty and staff are, well beyond just folks in the environmental program.  As Steve likes to say, “Other schools talk about their growing commitment to environmental issues and sustainability, but we have been demonstrating this for years, as evidenced in part by the commitment to driving a Prius or other hybrid.”

Initially, the idea stalled a bit, pardon the expression, due to the costs and logistics of taking such a photo. However, in a recent meeting, our own Brian Blum, law faculty member, offered to take the photo as long as he did not have to climb on any roofs.  And, a convenient day of the last faculty meeting of the year in May was chosen, both because faculty would be on campus and because the weather promised to cooperate.

I then set about the task to identify staff and faculty who own a Prius or other hybrid.  Bike commuters were also invited to identify themselves to be part of the picture (those who bike as their transport fairly regularly).  The initial focus was on staff and faculty, with a student photo shoot to be scheduled at another time.  At least three faculty members posed with their bikes and their Prius.

Of course, once we started talking about driving hybrid cars, all of the folks who take mass transport or walk to work, and have been doing so for years, piped up.  We have many staff and faculty who find a carless way to work.  For this photo shoot, we decided to start with the cars and bikes and later figure out how to honor the walkers, bussers, and carpoolers.

It is remarkable how many of our faculty and staff choose an eco-friendly way to get to work!

For more information:

Janice Weis, associate dean and director of the law school’s environmental and natural resources program