Ann Kildahl, director of sustainability

Ann joined VCU in July 2021 after more than two decades in Asia, where she worked in higher education and the nonprofit sector. She served as the first Sustainability Manager at the University of Hong Kong, an urban research and teaching university with approximately 30,000 students. At the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, her work included multi-level program development and a landmark historic preservation and adaptive reuse project, now the Society’s permanent home.

Her ambition for VCU is to see sustainability practices and principles integrated into all aspects of campus life.

Originally from New York, Ann is a lifelong learner with degrees from Smith College (BA), Columbia University (MIA), and the University of Hong Kong (PhD). Outside of work, she loves biking, table tennis, good food and wine, and keeping up with family and friends.

Parker Long, program coordinator 

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Parker graduated from VCU in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies. She worked as an intern for VCU Sustainability for two years and was hired full-time as the reporting and outreach coordinator in 2012. In this position, Parker collects data for various sustainability reporting surveys, works to engage students and community members, manages this website and does her best to keep the number of emails in her inbox under control.

When she is not in the office, you can find Parker playing with her two dogs, cooking up a storm, drinking coffee, smelling flowers, hunting for treasures in thrift stores and daydreaming about 90° summer days.  

Sara Barton, program coordinator

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Sara studied political science and psychology at the University of Virginia and, after years of working in the nonprofit realm in Washington D.C. and New York City, returned to graduate school in 2012. She earned a Master of Public Health, focusing on community health education, from the CUNY School of Public Health. She then moved back to her native Loudoun County for a respite from city life. It was here in Virginia that she was bitten by the farming bug. Sara worked on organic farms for almost three years, growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, before joining the VCU team. 

She plans to utilize her production farming knowledge to grow heaps of nourishing foods for the Learning Garden's partner organizations. She hopes to make use of her community engagement experiences to not only teach Richmonders about growing food in urban spaces, but also to learn from community members the food justice issues that they feel most affect their health and well-being. Sara is thrilled to contribute to the impressive ongoing sustainability efforts at VCU.

Outside of the garden, you will find Sara dancing, singing when no one is within earshot, giving her plants daily pep talks, writing weird folk song lyrics, thrifting, concocting things in the crockpot, or watching stand-up comedy.

Jade Holweger, urban gardens and forestry coordinator

Jade has lived in Virginia for their entire life having lived in Roanoke, Norfolk, and now Richmond. Jade has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from VCU. They have previously worked as a research assistant where they published several papers in peer-reviewed journals and as an intern with VCU Sustainability where they supported aspects of all of Sustainability's various projects, including reducing food insecurity and urban heat islands by rethinking Richmond's relationship with nature.

Jade sees a future where all people’s needs are met equitably, and artificial scarcity does not stand in the way of anyone’s ability to enjoy their life. They are excited to work towards this reality as the urban gardens and forestry coordinator by growing nutritious, safe food for students, increasing the tree canopy over Richmond’s historically redlined neighborhoods, and providing access to green spaces and gardening skills in a safe and inclusive environment.

Outside of their work here, Jade serves as the deputy director of the Earth Hacks Foundation, a non-profit they helped start to develop solutions to the climate crisis at innovation competitions called hackathons. When Jade isn’t hacking the climate crisis or growing food in the gardens, they prefer to relax by gardening, woodworking and riding bikes with friends.

Jane Hagen, sustainability data coordinator

Placeholder until staff photo takenJane graduated from VCU in 2021 with a Master of Arts in English, focusing on ecological weird fiction. In this position, she plans to track and analyze sustainability data and help put it to use in the ongoing sustainability work at VCU. She is particularly interested in ways to approach complex, interconnected problems that exist far outside the human scale, like the climate crisis, and hopes to use data to help approach those problems in more informed ways. 

Outside of her work here, Jane can be found swimming, cooking, or reading.

Grace Lumsden-Cook, campus sustainability intern

Grace is an Environmental Studies graduate student in the advanced masters program here at VCU. She finds the field of environmental studies so interesting because of the ability it gives us to learn more about the monumental environmental issues that we are seeing today. The complexity and interconnectedness of ecosystems is what makes these issues so difficult to manage. It is also what makes it so fascinating!

Outside of doing gardening work at the Learning Garden and tree maintenance with the VCU Community Forestry Program, Grace loves to immerse herself even further in the outdoors. Being that VCU is located on the Falls of the James River, she often utilizes the river and local parks for hiking, kayaking, and rafting with VCU's Outdoor Adventure Program. 

Diana M. Hall, campus sustainability intern

Diana was born and raised on the coast of Hampton, VA before attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she majored in Smart and Sustainable Cities with a minor in Landscape Architecture. While at Virginia Tech, she volunteered at food banks in Blacksburg and interned with the Asian American Student Union researching public policy.

After three years, she moved to Richmond to finish her studies at VCU and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies. As a former intern for the Senate of Virginia, she helped lobbyists pass environmental legislation through the General Assembly. Diana is currently interning with VCU Sustainability to assist in the development of the ONE VCU Sustainability Plan. She aspires to be an urban planner to improve public transportation and create walkable communities.

Diana has been a vegetarian for six years (and counting). Formerly a coxswain for VCU Crew Club, she enjoyed sunrises on the James and getting splashed in the face with river water at 5 a.m. You can catch her supporting local musicians at DIY house shows.