Spotlight on Staff: Naomi Friedman, Sustainability Coordinator

By Lauren Mar
Naomi Friedman, sustainability coordinator

Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, sustainability coordinator Naomi Friedman has been immersed in sustainable thinking since a young age. She graduated from Oberlin college in 2023 with a degree in environmental studies. At Oberlin, Friedman worked in the sustainability office as a sustainable materials management intern.  

Now returning to the West Coast, Friedman says Scripps feels both familiar and exciting. “I liked working at a college because they are like little cities. There are so many ways to implement sustainability and make change,” she says. 

At Oberlin, Friedman worked on several efforts to make the campus more sustainable. These efforts included reintroducing recycling to the college, as recycling had been phased out in prior years. She also assisted in green purchasing and hosting green events. While Friedman initially began her environmental studies degree focusing on sustainability through a scientific lens, she realized after her experience in the sustainability office that she preferred the practical implementation. 

“I like how it feels to facilitate tangible change,” Friedman says. “Especially being at a liberal arts college, sustainability efforts feel meaningful because they directly impact the community.” 

While Friedman is new to Scripps this semester, she has already taken several steps to initiate change. One main project Friedman is working on is to build on the utility management progress started by the previous sustainability coordinator. Friedman has been working to acquire a utility management software that will track the College’s utility data as various energy projects are rolled out. This software will assist in collecting the campus’s energy expenditures, which will be crucial in evaluating new sustainability efforts. Additionally, Friedman is currently partnering with the “Sustainabiliteam” under SAS to improve waste collection. One of their main initiatives is a pilot program to improve recycling infrastructure in Seal Court.  

Beyond these projects, Friedman hopes to change the role of sustainability on campus. She says, “One thing I’ve been hearing from students is that they want more transparency. I’m developing a website and talking to students in order to make sustainability more visible on campus.” 

After attending this year’s Olive Harvest, Friedman holds much admiration for students’ role in furthering sustainability at Scripps. One way she hopes to increase opportunities for students is through the Scripps Innovation and Sustainability Fund. The fund allocates $5,000 each semester to fund student projects related to any facet of sustainability, whether that’s education, waste management, or something else. Friedman hopes to open applications next semester to allow students to participate in and support campus sustainability efforts. 

The Innovation and Sustainability fund is supported by donations, which can be made in a variety of ways. “This fund is important because it engages community members directly,” Friedman says. “It’s powerful to work at a historically women’s college and collaborate with such passionate and capable students.”