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Miami graduate pursues climate control initiatives in sustainability coordinator position

As sustainability becomes a more pressing issue within the Oxford community, Reena Murphy, a recent Miami University graduate, is working toward viable solutions for common sustainability problems. 

The newly founded role of sustainability coordinator within the City of Oxford mainly revolves around promoting more sustainable and climate friendly programs. Murphy, who moved into the role in June, focuses mainly on solid waste management and biodiversity. However, after graduating from Miami with a master’s in environmental science and a concentration on water management, Murphy hopes to one day begin projects with the goal of better stormwater management.

“I don’t currently have a huge focus on water right now, but I hope to begin more projects with stormwater management in the future,” Murphy said.

Jessica Greene, assistant city manager, said Oxford City Council had adopted three high level goals for the year, which included affordable housing, climate sustainability and economic development. So, to better focus on the second goal of climate sustainability, the position of sustainability coordinator was added to the staff.

Murphy started her journey of sustainability in Oxford by interning for the city as a specialist in sustainability. After the new position of sustainability coordinator was created, she applied and transitioned into the role. Although the position was established before her arrival, Murphy forged much of what the position is today. 

“Reena has a unique combination of both technical and environmental skills, where she can not only read a chart but conduct analysis as well,” Greene said. “She also has a strong administrative side where she can help us research policy and work with our legislative team.”

Murphy’s position works closely with Oxford’s environmental specialist. To Murphy, that position does more of the “outdoor” work, while her position mainly focuses on the “indoor” work within the sustainability bubble.

Currently, Murphy is working on a climate action plan that has been approved by the climate action steering committee and will make its way to Council this fall. For more information on the plan, the final draft will be published soon to the Oxford CityClerk website under public meetings. 

On top of this newly developed climate action plan, Murphy looks forward to pursuing many more sustainable-focused projects in Oxford with the overall goal of fighting climate change. 

“There is not a single person that climate change won’t impact; therefore there is not a single person that cannot be a part of the solution,” Murphy said. “So, as a community, having a position dedicated to sustainability really shows that our community is willing to do our part by preparing for climate change and pushing for a more sustainable future.”

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