Anthony Mirabito sees opportunities for sustainability everywhere—from electric vehicles to reducing toxic chemicals—and he has been working with Northern Arizona University’s Green Fund to help support those projects. “The thing is, sustainability is everything,” he said. “It involves anything and everything we do at the university. And there is a way to connect it to everything that we do.”
Anthony aspires to start a business in the sustainability field. He learned leadership skills from the Office of Sustainability Manager, Matthew Muchna. “Matt has been critical in my journey towards a sustainability career,” he said. Anthony either wants to be a corporate sustainability director or start his own business. “I think those are two really important things,” he said. “And business is something that isn’t involved in sustainability as much as it should be because it’s central to the work that we do. And I want to be a part of that movement to change.”
Anthony is an Honors Environmental and Sustainability Studies major with minors in Business and Biology. He has been busy on campus. He is currently a co-chair of the Green Fund and is also active with the University Honors College.
As the co-coordinator for the Honors Ambassador team, he helps incoming students and their families feel welcome and get the information they need. He credits his mentors from the Honors College, including his current supervisor, Program Coordinator Kelcy Kain, and Dean of the Honors College, Kevin Gustafson, in helping him through his undergraduate years and his role at the Honors College. “They’ve all been fantastic in helping me be independent within my position,” he said. “But they also have provided the guidance and encouragement I need to be successful.”
Supporting sustainability on campus with the Green Fund
Working as co-chair of the Green Fund with fellow student Genevieve Conley, he helped revitalize the committee and reorganize funding procedures. He is now confident future committees will efficiently and enthusiastically handle proposals. “We are an organization of students, faculty, and staff that manages and provides funding for sustainability projects on campus,” he said. “That’s essentially our purpose and our function. And our two goals are to contribute to a culture of sustainability on campus. And then, provide funding for projects that support that culture.”
He is very excited about the possibility of starting a pilot program to purchase electric vehicles with funding from the Green Fund and in partnership with departments across campus. Anthony, and members of the Green Fund, are working with the Associate Vice President of Facility Services, Steve Vedral, graduate student Miles Dunlap, and Associate Professor with the School of Earth and Sustainability Erik Nielsen. “The departments are working to create a transportation plan that will shift our transportation across campus towards electric,” he said.
He also worked with Vedral and custodial shop assistant manager, Jeffrey Triphahn, to convert NAU’s cleaning chemicals to a more sustainable system. “This project has the potential to reduce our university’s toxic chemical usage by up to 90 percent and realize significant cost savings for the university, contributing to a healthier, more sustainable NAU,” Anthony said.
Anthony appreciates the diverse experiences he has had at NAU. “Being able to connect with people at all levels of the university in a really personal way, I think, is something that’s unique to NAU,” he said. “And the opportunity that I’ve had here has been learning how to build skills to communicate with all of those people positively and effectively, and that more than anything has helped me become the person I am now.”