Mission and Purpose

Our office's role is to foster sustainable development and promote social and environmental responsibility at the university by bridging the academic activities of teaching, research and outreach with the operations of the campus.
We partner with faculty, staff and students to catalyze change, we measure and report on progress, and we engage with students and employees through peer-to-peer outreach programs.

Meet Our Staff:

Elizabeth Palchak, PhD, Director

Elizabeth Palchak

Elizabeth leads the Office of Sustainability, connecting academics, research, operations, and engagement to amplify UVM’s impact and contributions to sustainable solutions. Liz earned her BA from The College of Wooster and her PhD from the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, with a focus on social science and the clean energy transition. Prior to her return to UVM, she was a Senior Energy Consultant with VEIC, a sustainable energy company based in Vermont. At VEIC, she worked on sustainable energy projects throughout the country for municipalities, utilities and universities, highlighting the human perspective in program and policy development. She is an active contributor to the Energy Equity Project, a national effort to address energy justice and held teaching positions at several institutions, most recently at Vermont Law School. Earlier in her career she was a graduate faculty member at Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming and was a NOLS instructor in the Rocky Mountains. If she's not at work, she's most likely outside, trail running with friends or backcountry skiing with her husband.


Email: elizabeth.palchak@uvm.edu

Corey Berman, Recycling & Zero Waste Coordinator

Corey Berman

Helping lead the effort in positioning UVM as a leader in sustainable materials management and Zero Waste, Corey collaborates with faculty, staff and students on a variety of initiatives and projects that reduce and divert UVM’s waste stream. His responsibilities include strategic and project planning, managing daily operations, conducting campus education and outreach, and overseeing research and data collection. Corey has been working in the field of environmental sustainability for over 20 years. After graduating from Keene State College in 2000 with a degree in Sociology, where he helped run the KSC recycling program, Corey worked with the Connecticut Energy Co-op, and later as part of the Dept. of Energy’s Energy Star Program. Corey then joined UVM’s Solid Waste Program in 2005 eventually becoming its Program Manager. He was one of the first participants in UVM’s Leadership for Sustainability Graduate Program and is a current board member of the College and University Recycling Coalition.


Email: corey.berman@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-656-5731

Abby Bleything, Sustainable Transportation Program Manager

Abby leads the overall strategy, administration and expansion of the Active Transportation Plan and existing Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs while overseeing implementation of new sustainable transportation initiatives. Prior to this role, she served as Vermont’s Clean Cities Coordinator, managing a statewide coalition and portfolio of activities designed to decrease the use of petroleum in the transportation sector. Abby holds a M.S. in Urban Policy and Planning and a B.S. in Environmental Policy. She is a Certified Planner (AICP), a TDM Certified Professional (TDM-CP), a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), and a Certified Instructor for the Safe Routes to School National Course.


Email: abby.bleything@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-656-1009

Claire Forbes

photo of Claire Forbes

Claire joined UVM's Planning, Design & Construction team in 2017, expanding her role to the Office of Sustainability in 2022. In the past year, she played a crucial role in advancing the Campus Plan 2022-2032, which serves as a guiding framework for land use and building management, and UVM's inaugural Comprehensive Sustainability Plan (CSP), which commits to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Claire's expertise spans land use planning, community development, committee facilitation, graphic and urban design, bike/pedestrian planning, and sustainable building design. She became a LEED AP in 2008 and received her AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) certification in 2013.


Email: claire.forbes@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-363-9113


Caylin McCamp, Sustainable Projects Manager

Caylin McCamp

As a UVM undergraduate Caylin was active in campus sustainability efforts as an Eco-Rep and was excited to learn that type of work could be a career after taking a course called Campus Sustainability. She graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies with an internship capstone conducing energy efficiency assessments. Caylin then worked as the Sustainability Manager with UVM Dining for five years and joined our office in 2017. Caylin assists with the tracking and reporting indicators of campus sustainability success and coordinates the Eco-Reps Program that started her on her own career path. Caylin recieved an M.S. in Natural Resources in 2020 through the Leadership for Sustainability program with a capstone on climate anxiety.


Email: caylin.mccamp@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-656-0906

Casey Smith, Renewable Energy Projects Coordinator

Casey Smith

Casey Smith has worked for Planning, Design & Construction since 2017 supporting construction project managers and began sharing her time with the Office of Sustainability in 2021 to help bridge the common goals of these departments. She maintains data for UVM’s solar installations and researches state regulations regarding renewable energy. Casey is pursuing a Certificate for Graduate Study in Community Resilience and Planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM. Her academic interests include sustainable community design, adaptive reuse architecture and planning for climate migration.


Email: casey.a.smith@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-656-0218

Gioia Thompson, Sustainability Strategist

Gioia Thompson

After working in the recycling arena, Gioia Thompson came to UVM in 1996 to begin working with a team, the Environmental Council, under the leadership of Dr. Stephanie Kaza of Environmental Studies to bring more sustainable practices into campus life. Gioia is responsible for tracking the institution’s environmental performance; recommending environmentally responsible practices; working with students, faculty members, and staff members on projects; and connecting with the Vermont and higher education communities. Gioia received a B.A. in Environmental Studies in 1987 with an honors thesis on municipal leaf composting, and an M.S. in Natural Resources in 2000 on indicators of sustainability in higher education, both from the University of Vermont.


Email: gioia.thompson@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-656-3803

Kevin Coburn, Communications Specialist

Kevin Coburn has worked as a content creator at UVM since 2017, and began working with the Office of Sustainability in 2020. He manages the Office of Sustainability website and writes feature stories about sustainability activities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UVM and a web marketing certification from UVM Professional and Continuing Education. Kevin has broad experience in higher education and non-profit communications—he was director of communications at Green Mountain College, leading an office that won several Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) excellence in publications awards, and the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt. He also works in UVM central communications and for the Office of Engagement at UVM.


Email: kevin.coburn@uvm.edu
Phone: 802-299-5410

2023 Sustainability Interns

Clare Nelson is a UVM Honors College graduate with a B.S. in civil engineering. She is currently pursuing an M.S. in civil engineering with a focus on transportation and sustainable policy development. Outside of the office, Clare has been an Eco-Rep, interned with the physical plant department, completed research on sustainable building materials, acted as secretary and president of the UVM chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and remains an active researcher with the UVM Transportation Research Center. Her research explores alternative fuels tax funding mechanisms as well as transportation challenges in small, rural communities. On the side, she's always up for long bike rides, snowboarding, painting, propagating plants, making delicious curries or giving haircuts. These days, her work with the office mainly revolves around supporting sustainable transportation plans with a focus on data analysis.

Liz Amler is a Policy Intern as part of the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the Office of Sustainability. Liz is pursuing a Masters of Public Administration at the University of Vermont with a concentration in Environmental Policy. Liz’s passion for building a sustainable future stems from her time as an outdoor educator at North Country Camps in the Adirondack mountains of New York. She brings extensive policy experience to her role, having served at the Senate Office of Bernie Sanders and on political campaigns. Liz is dedicated to sustainability efforts across campus, and her work at the Office of Sustainability is centered in furthering the objectives of the Sustainable Campus Plan through renewable policy initiatives.

Contact Us:

Physical & Mailing Address:
Office of Sustainability
Marsh Hall Suite 9
31 Spear Street
Burlington, VT 05405

Email: sustainability@uvm.edu