Sustainability coordinator hopes to lower ETHS’ carbon emissions

ETHS has hired its first full-time sustainability coordinator following months of outcry and protest from ETHS students imploring the ETHS administration to act upon the current climate crisis our planet is facing. Local climate activist group E-town Sunrise, a division of the national climate activist group Sunrise Movement, led the charge in the fight for a sustainability coordinator. The student-run group led a walkout of approximately 150 students on April 29, marching over a mile from the school to Fountain Square in downtown Evanston and gathering with fellow Evanston residents and Northwestern students, chalking the sidewalks with demands for a full-time coordinator whose sole responsibility is creating and managing the school’s sustainability initiatives. 

In light of former superintendent Eric Witherspoon’s retirement and the recent climate controversy, ETHS has promoted John Crawford as the new Director of Operations and Sustainability under newly appointed Superintendent Marcus Campbell. Crawford formerly served as the Lead Power Plant Engineer at ETHS for 25 years. 

“As Director of Operations and Sustainability along with overseeing the Capital Improvements, I will be wearing a few different hats. It is a unique position where I can help ensure that the capital projects we tackle each summer as well as how we operate the facility are in line with our sustainability goals and initiatives.” Crawford says. 

The focus of environmental groups has been on reducing the school’s carbon emissions. As he enters the position, Crawford has plans that will hopefully help ETHS reach these goals. 

“We will continue to lower our energy consumption. LED replacement, tighter optimization of mechanical run time, shutting down certain parts of the building for after-hour, weekend, and summer usage are all part of that plan. Old windows and roofs are replaced with energy-efficient products that help keep the heat/cooling in the spaces. Top priority and first on the agenda are meeting with our energy providers to discuss receiving our electricity from renewable/carbon-free emission sources.”

However, sustainability is a community effort, and with new information coming out, an ever-changing goal. Crawford plans to work with the Evanston community.   

“I’m very excited to start my new role. I know with the collaboration of administration, staff, students, and community members we can accomplish great things at ETHS.”