The Selkirk College Environmental Sustainability Awards are presented annually to a student and an employee who have made significant contributions to the post-secondary’s commitment. Director of Facilities Ron Zaitsoff and Recreation, Fish & Wildlife Program student Zoë Leech are being recognized for demonstrating outstanding leadership on initiatives that have reduced the college’s carbon footprint while encouraging a sustainability culture on campus and within the broader community.
“Working towards a more sustainable future for Selkirk College is a collective effort,” says Laura Nessman, Sustainability Coordinator at Selkirk College. “We need collaboration between all areas of the college if we want to see impactful, lasting results. Both Ron and Zoë have made vital contributions to advancing sustainability within our campus operations.”
Graduating this spring from the Recreation Fish & Wildlife Program, Zoë Leech has been a leader in sustainability through her work with the Selkirk College organics program.
Originally from Roberts Creek on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, Leech moved to the West Kootenay for school and expanded her education by getting involved in the college community. For the past three semesters, she has been the college’s compost attendant where she has helped divert 1,500 pounds of organic material from the landfill. Handling the grunt work of the composting initiative, Leech has been responsible for weighing, emptying, cleaning collection bins, turning the compost, monitoring temperatures and managing the collection data.
“Zoë has been a dependable team player, who has always shown up with a positive attitude,” says Nessman. “She has been essential to the success of the Castlegar Campus organics program.”
Director of Facilities Ron Zaitsoff stands on the roof of the main building on the Castlegar Campus where 275 solar panels are contributing to the college's energy needs and reducing the institution's carbon footprint.
A member of the senior management team at the college, Zaitsoff’s environmental leadership has culminated with many successful projects over the last decade. With a forward-focused approach, Zaitsoff has been instrumental in recent projects that include the solar panel install on the Castlegar Campus roof, the solar install at the Mir Centre for Peace, the $23 million Silver King Campus refresh, purchase of the college’s first electric vehicle and numerous upgrades to college facilities resulting in reduced energy use.
“Ron has led so many successful carbon reduction projects during his time at Selkirk College,” says Nessman. “You can speak to anyone who has had the opportunity to work with him and they cannot say enough great things about this leadership. He has accomplished so much and is so selfless in his approach. Ron strives to live lightly himself, embodying sustainability and leading by example.”