EDUCATION: Kendall hires Chief Sustainability Officer, signs climate commitment

GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design recently named Gayle DeBruyn as its first Chief Sustainability Officer. DeBruyn has been an assistant professor in design programs at Kendall for 22 years, but her new role will allow her to guide the college into the next generation of sustainable leadership.

Gayle DeBruyn

The new position demonstrates the emphasis Kendall continues to put on sustainability under the leadership of new Kendall President David Rosen.

“My goal is to help Kendall College of Art and Design become an important contributor to the sustainability efforts of our region and to accomplish this through the disciplines of fine art and design,” DeBruyn said in a press release. “Our students and graduates can contribute significantly to environmental needs and social capital through their work. Our opportunity and responsibility as educators is to shape learning and provide the tools to help our students make those contributions.”

One of the first sustainable initiatives Kendall has undertaken since naming DeBruyn as CSO is to sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a national effort by colleges and universities to address global climate disruption. The mission of this group is to accelerate progress toward climate neutrality and sustainability by empowering the higher education sector to educate students, create solutions and provide leadership-by-example for the rest of society.

Kendall also is engaging with the West Michigan Business Forum and Community Sustainability Partnership, community organizations and leaders attempting to transform the greater Grand Rapids region through the development of sustainable neighborhoods and communities.

In addition to her responsibilities at Kendall, DeBruyn is co-owner of Lake Affect Design Studio in Grand Rapids, which serves clients in commercial, residential and educational/institutional interior design, with an emphasis on sustainable design strategies.

She says she plans to use her knowledge and experience to “provide leadership to the college and connections to the community that will meaningfully integrate the practice of sustainability and learning for our students.”

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