Ray Jensen as University Sustainability Operations Officer

By Karen Leland, Director
Communications and Marketing

Demonstrating its proactive leadership in the field of sustainability, Arizona State University (ASU) has appointed Associate Vice President of University Business Services Ray Jensen as University Sustainability Operations Officer, with the responsibility to forward sustainability practices in as many aspects of the University’s operations as possible. In his expanded role, Jensen will collaborate with the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), while continuing to report directly to the Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer, Morgan R. Olsen.

ASU President Michael Crow says Jensen’s appointment will be a significant factor in ASU meeting its goals for sustainability, and will provide a more direct alignment with the administrative organization that has the primary responsibility for many of ASU’s support operations. "In a comparatively short period of time, ASU has earned a prominent position as a university leader in sustainable practices, sustainability education and research on the grand challenges of economic, social, and environmental sustainability," said Crow. "We have the ability—and the responsibility—to parlay that position into near-term results and long-term strategies that improve the University, the region, the nation and the globe."

ASU is committed to running the most sustainable campus possible. For example, the university has installed the largest solar energy portfolio on a single US university campus (1.88 MW to date); is significantly reducing campus waste (by 50 percent in ASU’s Surplus Property Department, for example); and, carefully monitors energy use through its Campus Metabolism Project – an interactive web tool that presents real-time energy use of its buildings (currently 13 with more to come online; http://cm.asu.edu).

With more than three decades of experience in university business operations—including organizational modeling and development, strategic planning, staff development and the implementation of best practices solutions—Jensen is charged with enhancing the momentum of this collaborative environment while advancing program delivery and administrative functions. "I’m looking forward to working with the University community and beyond, to ensure that our practices are aligned with our values," said Jensen.

Some of Jensen’s most significant tasks as University Sustainability Operations Officer will be:

  • Working closely with the Global Institute of Sustainability and the Office of University Sustainability Practices, led by Bonny Bentzin, who will now report to Jensen.
  • Establishing a Sustainable Practices Oversight Team and interdisciplinary teams to identify opportunities relating to energy, re-use and recycling, facilities, procurement, transportation, community engagement, and technology.
  • Writing the University Plan for Carbon Neutrality, which corresponds with ASU President Michael Crow’s leadership of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
  • Creating review processes, enhancing communications programs, and conducting training and efforts (such as an employee Sustainability Literacy program) to increase the sharing of best practices and advance education on sustainability topics.
  • Seeking outside sponsorship and funding for student projects developed in academic programs for possible campus implementation.

Jensen will continue his role with University Business Services, where he has administrative oversight for many of the business operations and auxiliary business services on ASU's four campuses, including purchasing, stores operations, mail services, parking and transit, University bookstores, Sun Card and the University Club. For this work, Jensen's organization has been recognized with two President's Awards for Innovation, two Governor's Recognition Awards and four NACUBO awards for cost reduction and process improvement. In 2007, the National Association of Educational Procurement bestowed Jensen with its highest honor: the Bert C. Ahrens Award for outstanding contributions to the procurement profession over an extended period of time.

Jensen is eager to begin in his expanded role. "ASU has made great strides in its sustainable programs and initiatives," he says. "We’ve done a lot, but there is no finish line."