Family T - Zinta Aistars

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Family T - Zinta Aistars

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100 Years and Counting

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In April, the College honored four members of its faculty and staff for

25 years of service. The four individuals were 1 Tom Smith,

Chemistry; 2 Chris Thomas, Business Office; 3 Carolyn Newton,

Biology and Provost Office; and 4 Paula Romanaux, Music.

Citations for these individuals were read, respectively, by Tom

Askew, Physics; Tom Ponto, Business Office; David Evans, Biology;

and Gary Dorrien, Religion. LE

1 2 S u m m e r 2 0 0 4

Environmental

Balance

Grad’s consensus building garners honors

by Antonie Boessenkool ’99

When 24-year-old Jessica Yorko ’00 walks in the door of a coffee

shop in downtown Lansing (Mich.), she has her hands full—her

bag, a cup of coffee, and her 7-month-old son, Nicholas. It’s a

balancing act that extends from her arms to her life. And the fine balance

she has achieved allows her to excel professionally. She was the first

runner-up for the 2003 Environmental Achievement Award from the

Environmental Management Association in Michigan, which honored her

work at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

After graduating from Kalamazoo College four years ago, Yorko took

a position as an education and outreach analyst for the MDEQ, the

department responsible for environmental quality in the state. Yorko's

division educates businesses and citizens about environmental regulations

and pollution prevention.

In 2002, Yorko took on new responsibilities as the division’s

marketing and partnership coordinator. She builds relationships with trade

and sustainable business associations and environmental non-profit

organizations, like the Michigan Environmental Council. "We talk to these

groups about environmental issues, and they teach their members," she

says. "In turn, we give them first-hand knowledge about environmental

laws, and we promote their organizations.

"Most companies want to get out in front of environmental laws to

avoid penalties, so they appreciate having a dialogue with us to keep

abreast of new laws," Yorko says. "We also have incentive programs for

businesses that go above and beyond the law."

Yorko received the recognition for her marketing initiatives promoting

the 8th Annual Sustainable Business Conference & Expo that was held in

October of 2002. The conference offered information on environmentallyfriendly

and sustainable business practices and connected businesses

with vendors that offer such alternatives.

Yorko's work helped expand the traditionally small annual conference

into a statewide event and increased attendance fivefold compared

to previous years. "The conference focused on gaining a competitive

advantage with environmentally-conscious practices. To have so many

businesses attend was very encouraging and suggests that more people

are coming to value environmentally-sound sustainable business

practices."

Serving as a liaison between environmental regulators and the businesses

they regulate might seem a potentially contentious role, but Yorko

says the opposite is true. "We are improving environmental quality on a

voluntary basis," she says. "Businesses know that doing things that are

good for the environment is also good for business. Increasing energy

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