CLC's sustainability manager leaves to lead statewide effort
After nearly 10 years as the College of Lake County's first sustainability manager, David Husemoller is leaving the post to lead similar initiatives for community colleges statewide.
He starts Monday as executive director of the Illinois Green Economy Network but will continue to be based at CLC's main campus in Grayslake amid a variety of green initiatives he's fostered over the years.
CLC is a founding member of IGEN, a consortium of 39 community college districts sharing resources and practices to help grow a new green economy and connect students with careers.
"There is a lot of emphasis on green technology and we have to train people for that," Husemoller said. Part of his task will be to find ways to make projects, programs and other elements more feasible and accessible.
"I'll be working with colleges across the state looking at funding sources," he added. "The state wants a more ready workforce."
Husemoller's tenure is tied to CLC's commitment to weave the philosophy and practices of being green into everyday operations and student experience. Beginning in 2008, CLC had grant-funded sustainability coordinators. But it wasn't until 2013, when the late Jerry Weber, CLC president from 2009 to 2017, determined it was important to incorporate the position permanently on the payroll.
Husemoller, a Grayslake resident who was coming off a 10-year stretch as a planner with Lake County, became the first budgeted sustainability manager hired as a point person to develop strategic plans.
He said then that he applied for the CLC position because he was interested in how urban and native environments impact "what we are and what we do."
A substantial portion of CLC's sustainability work focuses on the use of energy, but the program has evolved considerably and covers a lot of territory, literally and figuratively. CLC has received many accolades and awards for its efforts.
A commitment to natural resources, for example, has been realized in part by retrofitting outdated mechanical systems, incorporating green building features in existing and new facilities, and installing a solar array to reduce energy use, cost and emissions.
One of the more visible features is the Living Lab Trail, a learning tool envisioned by Weber and shepherded by Husemoller.
The 1.5-mile trail has no beginning or end and winds through the Grayslake campus. Signs describe the apiary, farm, prairie areas, and other sustainable features on campus along the way.
Husemoller said developing the trail and about 2,300 feet of bioswales to filter runoff are among the successes during his tenure.
"I really learned a lot," he said. "I can see things I was able to help bring about and that's empowering."
Husemoller is the primary author of CLC's 2023-25 Sustainability Plan. He said his biggest accomplishment was leading CLC to be ranked among the top 10 community colleges in the nation for sustainability for six years.