Robert Redford Conservancy Appoints New Director

College announced the appointment of environmental analysis professor Brinda Sarathy to Director of
the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability Jan. 29. The
Robert Redford Conservancy is dedicated to creating sustainability and
promoting environmental justice, with a focus on environmental issues specific to
Southern California.

Many of Sarathy’s academic interests focus on the intersection of environment and
politics, including natural resource management, environmental justice, social
inequality and U.S. environmental policy. She hopes to incorporate the
interests into her position as director of the conservancy, asking students and
members of the community to think about “sustainability defined in different
ways based on political perspectives.”

The conservancy’s mission is to
“integrate instruction, research, curriculum development, outreach, and policy
work regarding regional environmental issues within their national and
international contexts,” according to Pitzer’s website. It makes an effort to “engage in interdisciplinary
and team-based ventures for the wellbeing of our natural and social world,”
especially in the region surrounding the Claremont Colleges. Recently, the conservancy has been involved in design competitions and art exhibitions around Pitzer’s campus and is sponsoring
Pitzer courses in multiple disciplines with a focus on environmental justice
and sustainability.

Under the leadership of Sarathy, the conservancy is looking to expand its horizons. She plans
to hit the ground running after her appointment and work closely with students and the community in order to “co-create
something amazing for this institution.” Recently, she mobilized a team of
sophomores and juniors to work on a group independent study project serving the
development of the conservancy.

The conservancy is looking to
continue its renovation of an old infirmary at the Bernard Field Station directly north of the 5Cs, with the stated goal of establishing a concrete presence there.

Sarathy also insists on taking
“collaborative approaches” with other academic fields outside of environmental analysis, and plans
on reaching out to other departments such as political studies, sociology, anthropology and art.

“EA and art have a lot of
synergies,” she said.

Students who work closely with Sarathy are very excited about her recent appointment.

“I can
see why they chose her,” environmental analysis major Morissa Zuckerman PZ ’16 said. “She
has a strong background in engaging with communities, and she’s very strongly
rooted in visions of justice.”

Kepa Barrett PZ ’17 echoed Zuckerman’s sentiments on Sarathy’s commitment to her work.

“She stays true to
her values, true to her roots,” Barrett said. 

Sarathy received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Under her direction, the conservancy will continue to develop and expand its efforts in the coming months.

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