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Preston JacobsenUT’s new Sustainability Manager Preston Jacobsen is ready to hit the ground running.

Coming from Haywood Community College in North Carolina, Jacobsen is eager to implement a variety of initiatives on the large scale afforded by the UT campus.

“The pride of being a Southeastern Conference school is something that I want to tap into,” he said. “We are very proud folks, and I want to engage on that scale.”

In an effort to connect with UT students, Jacobsen plans to use different technologies, such as the development of a sustainability mobile app, to increase awareness and reduce utility costs through engagement.

“I’d like to see more engagement with the students,” he said. “I hope to make people more aware about our sustainability efforts.”

Through increased awareness, Jacobsen hopes the campus community will take ownership of its ideas and initiatives.

“If I can show you the way and I can teach you how to do that task or use a certain technology or practice and you own it, then I’ve done my job because you will continue that task,” he said.

Aside from outreach, another focus in the Office of Sustainability is the collection and analysis of data.

Jacobsen plans to get students involved in this data collection by implementing student-led projects on campus and in the Knoxville area.

“A few of the projects include conducting energy audits in some of the residence halls, and establishing a living, learning community centered around sustainable living,” he said.

Now that Jacobsen has been on campus for a few weeks, he is eager to tap into the campus’s potential.

“I think there are very exciting sustainability opportunities at UT,” he said.

For more information about the Office of Sustainability, go to or