Goodnough, who holds degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, was hired as the first sustainability coordinator in the University of Minnesota System in 2006, and as those who know him will attest, he’s reluctant to take any credit.
“My job is to help shape our aspirations. I'm not in charge of anything,” says Goodnough. “The Office of Sustainability is staffed by me and my student colleagues. We work together with our amazing campus and community partners to assist them in accomplishing their goals. We often help by writing grants, adding analytical capacity, helping them think in a systems way about their goals, and finding resources.”
Peck says that, as a transfer student, they chose to attend U of M Morris largely because of its sustainability efforts, and Peck feels fortunate to have had Goodnough as a mentor.
“He's taught me a lot about relationship-building and how you work as a professional in this space,” says Peck. “He's also very aspirational. He set big goals for us, and sometimes we were like, ‘I don't know if that's something we can do,’ and nine times out of 10, it ends up being something we achieve.”
Now as leader of the city’s sustainability initiatives, Peck also sees goal-setting as critical to their work.