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Division of Administration Newsletter E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

March 2021

Eric Kopstain

I want to begin this newsletter by expressing my sincere gratitude to staff in our division. We had a successful fall semester and much of that was due to your dedication, perseverance, innovation, care and collaboration with campus partners. We held a recognition ceremony in December to highlight some of the many staff who went above and beyond in the university’s COVID-19 response and other efforts over the past several months. I encourage you to visit our Employee Recognition webpage for details and to watch the Zoom recording. Please know that all of your continued individual efforts contribute to our collective success as an institution.

As I noted in my previous newsletter, much of our focus has been, and will continue to be, ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff during the pandemic. We are off to a promising start this spring and I urge you to continue to stay the course – by displaying your undaunted spirit and work ethic and by following health and safety protocols. I also would like to acknowledge our team’s response during the recent winter weather in Nashville. Many staff in our division, and particularly, Facilities, Campus Dining and Public Safety staff, stepped up to ensure that campus operations could continue despite the challenges that came with the storm. Their dedication, care and collaboration were critical, and I am deeply grateful for their efforts.

The work of the university continues, even amidst the pandemic, with many important efforts and initiatives core to the university’s mission underway and on the horizon. In this newsletter, we will highlight FutureVU, the overarching campus planning process that was expanded to be a more holistic model, developing the spaces on campus and investing in the initiatives that support the people who live, work and learn in them. Despite the challenges of the past year, the university made significant achievements towards its FutureVU goals, with progress continuing into FY2021.

Thanks,

Eric Kopstain
Vice Chancellor for Administration


IN FOCUS

FutureVU’s second annual report provides an overview of the comprehensive campus planning initiative’s progress during the 2019–20 academic year. Highlights include:

  • bold new renewable energy partnerships with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Nashville Electric Service and city of Nashville to tackle climate change;
  • awarding of 2020 Leadership Award to Vanderbilt from the U.S. Green Building Council for achievements in green building and our commitment to creating a healthy, sustainable future;
  • improved stormwater management through a variety of green infrastructure and low-impact development practices, such as planting 306 trees in FY2020;
  • completion of transformative campus projects: West End neighborhood beautification, Nicholas S. Zeppos College, Phase 1 improvements to Peabody neighborhood with new connector between 6 Magnolia Circle and Mayborn buildings to provide greater accessibility, and renovation of 1101 19th Ave. building;
  • elimination of single-use plastics that will save more than 430,000 bottles annually;
  • relocation of community garden to a site near the University Club in summer 2020, providing students a valuable and safe outdoor activity during the pandemic in a more central location on campus;
  • launch of the MoveVU Commute Hub as a one-stop commuter information resource for the Vanderbilt community that helps them better understand their commute options beyond driving alone;
  • expansion of EasyRide program with WeGo Public Transit to make bus and commuter train trips more affordable and convenient for the entire university community;
  • completion of parking program study for improved space utilization with a priority on accessibility and pedestrian mobility;
  • awarding of second Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant of $8.3 million to the university to fund aspects of the MoveVU transportation and mobility plan;
  • increased goals and targets for engaging small businesses and women- and minority-owned businesses by updating requirements within contract documents;
  • removal of thousands of linear feet of ornamental fencing, within the interior and along the perimeter of campus, to promote and signify purposeful connections to the city as well as to remove physical barriers and allow for greater accessibility; and
  • increased community engagement in FutureVU planning, with more than 25 key events, including town halls, roadshows/open houses and a bus tour.

Progress toward FutureVU goals continues this fiscal year as well, with a few notable examples to follow.

Vanderbilt received an ArbNet Level II certification for the university’s historic landscape and arboretum. For almost 150 years, the Vanderbilt University Arboretum has helped define the character of the university’s campus as a forested oasis within urban Nashville, and it has also helped steer the principles of FutureVU. Through the vision of Bishop Holland McTyeire, thousands of trees planted early in the university’s history now form the core of the arboretum’s mature specimens. The university’s arboretum collection now contains approximately 6,000 trees, with a focus on native and adapted species to the Middle Tennessee region. However, with over 150 different species, there are some unique specimens selected for their interest. These trees cover the over 300 acres of the Vanderbilt University grounds. The oldest, and most famous, of the collection is the Bicentennial Oak, a Bur Oak dating back to before the American Revolution. Although the symbol of Vanderbilt is the white oak tree leaf and acorn, today there are only 53 white oak trees on campus.

Construction on the Owen Graduate School of Management capital project begins this spring. The project includes the renovation of the current Owen building, a 48,000 square foot addition and a new enhanced ADA-accessible pedestrian pathway and entrance to Owen, as well as a new section of the Walk and Roll Loop, a wide and comfortable loop encircling campus for active transportation, recreation, green space and to connect campus with the surrounding neighborhood. For those who can think back to three years ago, the West End neighborhood was an urban environment with vehicular roadways and alleyways and felt disconnected from the center of campus. Today the neighborhood has been transformed, featuring accessible pedestrian-and-bicycle-friendly pathways, green spaces and an enhanced park-like setting.

Many efforts are underway in support of the university’s sustainability goals. In early FY21, PepsiCo was announced as Vanderbilt’s official beverage provider for campus dining operations and vending locations; the agreement will provide the entire university community with PepsiCo’s broad portfolio of beverages. The new partnership aligns with sustainability goals – a commitment to achieving zero waste, or a 90 percent diversion rate, by 2030 and ending institutional single-use plastic purchases by 2025 – as well as changing student needs. Vice Chancellor Eric Kopstain was announced as a co-chair of Mayor John Cooper’s Nashville Sustainability Advisory Committee starting in early 2020. The committee has significant Vanderbilt involvement and recently published its recommendations on the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Climate Change Mitigation Action Plan. This February, the Vanderbilt Sustainability Advisory Council, comprising a diverse group of faculty, students and staff, was launched. The committee will provide input and expertise on campus sustainability efforts; advise on and help to develop plans and policies that move Vanderbilt towards carbon neutrality; and connect the dots across institutional efforts to maximize awareness and sharpen the focus of initiatives.

We are looking forward to continuing to make strides toward FutureVU goals that are in direct support of the university’s mission. Learn more and stay up to date on the FutureVU website.

Aerial of West End neighborhood
Aerial of West End neighborhood
New connector between 6 Magnolia Circle and Mayborn buildings in Peabody neighborhood
New connector between 6 Magnolia Circle and Mayborn buildings in Peabody neighborhood
Greenway section in West End neighborhood
Greenway section in West End neighborhood
Walk and Roll Loop section in Historic Core neighborhood
Walk and Roll Loop section in Historic Core neighborhood

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

IDEA Committee:

DofA staff members are invited to join the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness (IDEA) Committee! For more information on how to join the IDEA committee, please contact Yasmine Mukahal  or
Courtney Vogelpohl.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with
virtual events in March

Daylong virtual symposium, “Racial Justice,
Freedom and Activism in Nashville and Beyond:
Then and Now,” to take place on Friday, March 26,
starting at 9 a.m.

New awards celebrating staff excellence
launched; winners announced at inaugural
Spring Staff Assembly May 20

Vanderbilt spotlights 2020 Service Award recipients


RESOURCES

Return to Campus website

Return to Campus video series

Wellbeing Campus & Community Resources

USAC website

Past Division of Administration Newsletters

HIDDEN GEMS

Teea Moore

Teea Moore playing the violin

In a recent University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) meeting, Laura Nairon and Cleo Rucker learned that their colleague in Human Resources, Teea Moore, is an accomplished violinist. She also plays the piano, clarinet and flute and took ballet and gymnastics, and was point ballerina, up until eighth grade.

Teea, Senior Human Resources Consultant & Labor Relations Manager, first started playing the violin around the age of 7 or 8. Her mother signed her up for a Summer Fun with Strings program, and she continued playing from there. Teea played in four orchestras from elementary through high school – String Orchestra (elementary school), Philharmonic Orchestra (middle school) and Flint Youth Symphony (high school) – as well as played in her high school string ensemble. She played classical music but loves all genres of music and believes that music is very therapeutic for the soul. Awards she received during competitions reside in her parents’ home in Michigan.

During her time in the symphony in high school, the group travelled to a major U.S. or international city to perform every other year. In April 1992, Teea traveled to New York City to play in Carnegie Hall, and in April 1994, she traveled to England, two of the neatest places where she has been able to perform. She said that both trips were fun and had a major impact on her life. Seeing the guards outside of Buckingham Palace in London was pretty cool, and she fell in love with the Beatles after a tour of the Beatles Museum in Liverpool.

While she hasn’t played in over fifteen years, when asked if there are any lessons she learned from playing the violin that apply to other areas of her life, Teea said, “I learned the true meaning of working as a team and how each individual has an important role in the success of the team.  As a member of the 2nd violins, I had to make sure I knew my part because each note determined the section’s sound and performance.  If we all know our parts and play each note to perfection, the end result will be a masterpiece that will bring the audience to their feet yelling bravo, bravo, and encore!”

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