Ilsa Flanagan has been immersed in the field of sustainability for many years. She is the University of Chicago’s founding Director for the Office of Sustainability hired in 2008 after a national search that engaged students, faculty and staff. She is charged with developing a campus-wide plan for making the University more sustainable.
Before joining the University, Ilsa was the first sustainability director at LaSalle Bank/ABN AMRO. There she led the company’s efforts to develop a North American Sustainable Development initiative aligned with its global program. Earlier in her career Ilsa was primarily involved in social issues such as affordable housing, welfare reform and poverty. As head of public policy at United Way of America in Washington, DC she developed the organization’s national public policy agenda and directed government relations activities for the largest non-governmental funder of human services.
Ilsa’s passion is in starting up new programs, so in that sense she very much has an entrepreneurial ethos but with the heart of an anthropologist. She focuses on understanding the culture, location, and history of an organization before designing its sustainability program. She believes that sustainability is best understood in context.
Ilsa holds a law degree from The American University in Washington, DC and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Moravian College.
Maalik Gardner joined the Office of Sustainability in March 2012 as the recycles bike mechanic and has been maintaining bicycles for two years. In the summer of 2011, Maalik began his apprenticeship with Blackstone Bicycle Works and was hired as a bike messenger for the City of Chicago. He's a graduate of McKinley Academy at Lakeside, where he held a leadership position in the Glee Club and actively participated in After School Matters for the singing and songwriting ensemble. Maalik's interests include long bike rides on sunny days, singing, writing songs, meeting new people, and learning as much as possible. Maalik believes the more you learn about yourself, the more you are in harmony with nature, and you can therefore understand your course of life. Going between the Office of Sustainability and Blackstone, Maalik can often be found in the Young building's bike shop tending to recycles bikes.
Ignacio Tagtachian graduated from the University of Chicago in 2011 with a bachelor of science in environmental sciences. Ignacio has been with the Office of Sustainability since 2009 when, as an intern, he helped develop the University's first Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Upon graduation, he joined the Office as a Sustainability Fellow and is now a Program Coordinator. He currently works on expanding the inventory, green labs, sustainable buildings, general sustainability research, and the famous "Ask Ignacio" blog posts.
Ignacio's academic interests include sustainability, environmental engineering, and environmental economics. In the past, he worked for the Miami Museum of Science and conducted research on the health of many marine ecosystems by analyzing the density of sponge populations. His hobbies include making jewelry and being a radiant source of awesomeness.
Christy is a Miami native and a recent graduate of the University of Chicago. She previously worked as a Sustainability Intern for the Office of Sustainability and is thrilled to put her save-the-campus cape back on and return as Assistant Project Coordinator. She holds a degree in Environmental Studies and is a proud member of the Class of 2012. At the Office of Sustainability, she will be managing the recycles program, O-Week, and supporting student groups. Christy worked previously at Living on Earth, Public Radio International's environmental radio program. She has also worked in the Amazonian jungles of Peru for Amazonia Expeditions. These are a few of her favorite things: musicals, cooking and gastronomy, traveling, Chicago, Cuban pastries, and sustainability. Go green or go home.
Sony Rane graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in May of 2010 with a bachelor of arts in environmental studies and business administration. Before coming to Chicago, Sony was the first marketing and sustainability coordinator for Sodexo Campus Services at Pitt. She spearheaded Pitt's first commercial composting system in their largest dining hall and helped establish Pitt's first student-run garden. Sony enjoys working on institutional sustainability issues and will be looking at the big picture as well as the minute details of life at University of Chicago. She is excited to be in Chicago and explore the food, music, and natural beauty of the city!