Office of Sustainability Staff
Erin Stanforth, Director of Sustainability
Erin grew up in the hills of North Carolina, with a deep appreciation for the beauty of the southeastern U.S. She graduated in 2007 from Appalachian State University with a BA in Sustainable Development and a minor in Anthropology. Upon graduation, Erin moved to Portland, Ore. to pursue her passion in sustainability. In 2008, Erin was hired as the Sustainable Practices Coordinator for Portland Community College, Rock Creek campus. She worked in this role for two years, before being hired as the district-wide Sustainability Manager for PCC. While working in Oregon, Erin chose to pursue her Masters degree. She was awarded an MBA in Sustainable Business, concentrating in Government, Policy and Law in 2012 from Marylhurst University.
Erin was hired as the Director of Sustainability for VCU in April 2014. She relocated back to the south from the Pacific Northwest to be closer to her family. Erin sits on various sustainability-focused boards throughout the city of Richmond, as well as a few national sustainability-focused boards and committees. In her free time, Erin can be found kayaking, hiking and gardening with her husband and two dogs.
Parker Long, Sustainability Reporting and Outreach Coordinator
Parker graduated from VCU in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies. She worked as an intern for the Office of 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.
Wyatt Carpenter, Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator
Wyatt was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2010, he moved to Richmond to attend VCU. Wyatt completed his undergraduate studies in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies and a Bachelors of Science in Urban and Regional Studies. Wyatt earned a Masters of Sciences in Environmental Studies - with a focus on spatial analysis - in 2016.
As a Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, Wyatt is interested in building meaningful partnerships between VCU and the Richmond community in order to create positive change for the City.
Outside of work, Wyatt enjoys being outdoors, running, design, wearing sunglasses, architecture, eating, horticulture, bad television and spending what is arguably too much time fussing over houseplants.
Joe Costa, Sustainability Projects and Program Coordinator
Originally from upstate New York, Joe moved to Jamaica Queens to earn his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from St. John's University. While obtaining his BS, Joe worked in the sustainability department and became interested in how buildings ran, and how to improve a space both for the environment and for the occupants. Joe moved to Richmond in 2017 to become a part of the sustainability team at VCU.
Joe plans to help VCU improve its track record of sustainability by exploring ways to help buildings operate more efficiently, and helping staff and students learn how they can help.
In his time off Joe enjoys retreating to the mountains to hike and snowboard, visiting new places, and going to the zoo.
Sara Barton, Learning Garden Coordinator
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.
Sera Erickson, Bicycle Program Coordinator
Sera was born in Richmond but moved often and has lived everywhere from small towns to large urban centers. She returned to Richmond and earned her Bachelors of Science in Sociology from VCU in 2010. It was in Richmond that she fell in love with bicycles, the places they can take you and the way they work. She spent the last two years in New York City coordinating youth Earn-A-Bike programs at public schools in all five boroughs and helping in the formation of a new bicycle cooperative in Brooklyn. Sera is a certified cycling instructor for the League of American Bicyclists and has experience teaching cycling and do-it-yourself mechanics to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. She hopes to engage students in bicycle advocacy and education by creating more programs on campus and partnerships with the Richmond community.
In her free time you can find her singing in her disco-punk band, spreading more bike knowledge at Rag & Bones Bicycle Co-op, and encouraging youth to rock harder with Girls Rock! RVA. She enjoys rebuilding bicycles older than herself, reading dystopian sci-fi, chatting with her two cats, gardening, crafting, writing, and drinking lots of coffee.
Taia Blizard, Campus Sustainability Intern
Taia was born and raised in Richmond. After graduating high school, she continued her education a half mile down the road at VCU, where she is majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Spanish Language. With a deep love for all living things, she enjoys doing biological field research and volunteering with conservation efforts whenever she can. At the Office of Sustainability, Taia is happy to be able to pursue her interests in sustainability in a way that betters the city where she grew up.
Taia loves to travel around Virginia on the weekends, going backpacking, skiing, swimming, and camping. In her free time, you'll find her taking her beloved dog for long walks, doing yoga, making kombucha, and fumbling her way through reading Spanish books.
Gabe Perkins, Campus Sustainability Intern
Gabe is originally from Alexandria, Virginia, and moved to Richmond in 2015 to begin studies in Chemical & Life Science Engineering and Biology at VCU. Despite the technical aspect of his major, he is attracted to all facets of sustainability, from large scale renewable energy and sustainable engineering to healthy eating and urban greenspaces.
At the VCU Office of Sustainability, Gabe spends most of his time working in the Learning Garden, harvesting vegetables and spreading worm poop on the roots of those vegetables with the goal of reducing food insecurity in Richmond. Gabe hopes to bring his interests in all aspects of sustainability to VCU and the city in effort to make it a “greener” place to live.
When he's not holed up in the library or outside gardening, Gabe likes to attend concerts, hike mountains, watch sunsets, fantasize about 0-carbon emissions, make unnecessarily complicated meals from Facebook recipe videos and drink far more cold brew coffee than anyone rationally should.
Kiara Walker, Campus Sustainability Intern
Kiara, originally from Warrenton, VA, moved to Richmond in 2015 to attend VCU. After a year at VCU, she changed her major from Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science to Environmental Studies, and hasn't looked back since. Following her graduation, she hopes to work in the nonprofit sector doing work that unites food security and personal health with sustainability, and finds the Office to be a great place to work towards that goal.
At the Office of Sustainability, Kiara hopes to help increase community awareness of VCU's sustainability efforts, learn lots about plants, gardening and bikes, and support everyone with ideas to make Richmond a more sustainable city.
In her free time, Kiara can be found researching zero-waste hacks, laying in the sun with a good book, cooking whatever is in the fridge, shredding cardboard for her compost, riding her bike, grocery shopping with a podcast, or daydreaming about building her own tiny house.
Tommy Ryan, Graphic Design Intern
Tommy grew up on the Severn river in Maryland. He’s wanted to pursue a creative field since playing with KidPix in elementary school. In his fourth year at VCU, Tommy is interested in the intersection of sculptural and physical material practices with graphic design, and how the design approach can be applied to the sculptural world of fine art.
Tommy will graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Sculpture from VCU School of the Arts, with a certificate in Product Innovation from the VCU DaVinci Center.
In his free time, Tommy enjoys 3D printing, listening to hip-hop, podcasts, and hip-hop podcasts, brewing coffee and drinking coffee, and wrecking his friends in Mario Kart.