Photo of Dr. Kenneth Wong with his bike

This longtime Sustainability Champion, appointed dean of the Graduate School in August 2023, emphasizes that everyone can make a difference, no matter what size, when it comes to sustainability.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Office of Sustainability would like to recognize Kenneth Wong, PhD, as a Sustainability Champion! Wong has been the vice provost for graduate education and the dean of the Graduate School since August 2023.

While Wong hasn’t been here long, his impact on the University has been great, by also serving on the provost’s Leadership Council and working with partners across UMB and the geographic region. Prior to joining UMB, Wong served as associate dean and then senior associate dean of the Virginia Tech Graduate School for the National Capital Region for 11 years. He was also the director of the Northern Virginia Center (NVC) in Falls Church, Va., a shared facility with the University of Virginia.

Wong has been a Sustainability Champion at his previous institutions, advocating for biking and alternative transportation, including a transit benefit program for students. In his past roles, he has also supported Earth Day celebrations and expanded recycling options. Upon arrival at UMB, Wong was excited to find so many sustainability efforts already in place.

Outside of work, Wong is a great bike enthusiast, as biking allows him to get to his destination quickly while also appreciating and experiencing his surroundings. His family has been composting for a few years, and they divert much of their household waste from the landfill by supporting groups like Buy Nothing to practice reuse. Wong personally enjoys spending time fixing things that are broken instead of purchasing new items. Lastly, Wong advocates that everyone tries to experience “the many joys and benefits of being in natural settings like parks and woodlands.”

In his role as the dean of the Graduate School, Wong emphasized the importance of supporting students as they learn from the talented staff and faculty at UMB. “I want to help students thrive in an innovative, challenging, and caring environment made possible by our exceptional faculty and staff,” he said.

Wong highlighted that there are great opportunities to create new courses and programs around the topics of climate change and the sustainability of the health care industry. He pointed out a new interdisciplinary course being offered in the Spring 2024 semester that is available to students in five of UMB’s seven schools called “Climate Change, Health, and Society." The course was developed by an interprofessional group of faculty and is being supported by an interprofessional education (IPE) seed grant.

When asked what students, faculty, and staff at UMB can do to contribute to sustainability efforts, Wong emphasized that no change or choice is too small. “Learn more about the climate impact of the choices you make in your life, then make the changes that resonate with you. Everyone can do something!”

Do you have a UMB Sustainability Champion you would like to nominate to be featured? Please fill out this form. Self-nominations are welcome.

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