Spotlight David Taylor
Q&A with David Taylor, University Housing Senior Director
- What sparked your interest in sustainability in both your professional and/or personal life?
My undergraduate degree is in Geology and I’ve always had an interest in the earth itself. Over time that extended to really enjoying arboriculture as a main hobby. As a professional here, over time I ingratiated myself to the wonderful Grounds staff to learn more about all the efforts KSU takes to make the campus beautiful. That naturally extended to joining the Tree Advisory Board of the campus and seeking other ways to contribute.
- What sustainability initiatives is University Housing working on this year?
We try and do a variety of initiatives annually, both small and large. On the micro level, our 23 residence halls do ongoing programming about different topics. This can be active programming at an event where students can listen and learn, as well as passive programming where facts and figures may shared on bulletin boards in an elevator lobby, etc. There are many larger events timed during the year to maximize the impact. One particular program, called Throw N Go, is designed to divert gently used items that students no longer need from waste streams at move out. Whether furniture pieces or clothing, often times students are unable to transport items back home. We collect these items and materials are donated to Portage County Family & Community Services/County Clothing Center.
- Can you tell us more about how you and/or University Housing is advancing sustainability?
We want to educate our students and the best way we can do that is through programming. Campus Race to Zero Waste (formerly known as Recyclemania) is a friendly international waste reduction competition amongst residence halls as well as with other colleges and universities who choose to participate. Usually taking place during the months of February and March, this spring will be the 14th consecutive year of participation. In 2021 Kent State took 1st place in the zero waste and electronics recycling categories. Residence hall students play an important role in our university’s waste stream and recycled 48,499 total pounds during the collection period. Our hope is the same recycling effort is instilled and continues well after the program officially concludes. Another large annual program is Do It In The Dark, which is a two week energy conservation competition. It’s a joint collaboration between Kent Interhall Council and University Housing. During the competition energy consumption within the residence halls is monitored and scored against a baseline energy level taken prior to the competition. Whichever community reduce their consumption the most receives additional funding to use for programs and events in the hall.
- What would people be surprised to learn or know?
I collect easily more than 1000 nuts and seeds every year, and grow new tree seedlings to plant and give away. Usually it’s around 20 different tree species, and I try to grow at least two species each year that I’ve never successfully done. The campus operates almost as an unmarked arboretum with incredible diversity. Both natives and non-natives are planted, so there is a great variety to choose from and continue to discover.
- Where is one of your favorite spots to visit on campus? And what makes it your favorite?
In lieu of a favorite I have several locations I’ve found over the years that I like to visit on a campus walk. I mentioned my enjoyment of propagating trees above; the primary place I collect nuts and seeds is from the Kent Campus. I’ve found a lone persimmon on my walks, and in the late fall I’ve taken an early morning walk and collected my breakfast right from the tree. The campus has a pawpaw patch, and if you catch it right (you have only days) you can find some fresh pawpaws in September. There are a few mulberry trees as well hidden on the edges of woods. Around July 4th the trees have enough to collect and still share with the local deer and birds to make jam. As I ponder this I guess my favorite spots are where I find fun trees and basically eat off them.