May 19, 2012 10:29:45 PM
STARKVILLE - Like a farmer at seedtime, there is little visible evidence of the work Jeremiah Dumas has done.
Dumas, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at Mississippi State University and alderman for Starkville's 5th Ward, has been a driving force in just about every effort to bring sustainability to his campus and city.
But if you asked to see the evidence of his handiwork, Dumas admitted it would be difficult.
"The kinds of things we have been able to able to accomplish aren't necessarily tangible," Dumas said. "But we have seen tremendous increases in our energy efficiency around campus. And we've also worked very diligently in developing new policies and procedures that will be a part of our development and building plans. We are just on the cusp of seeing the results of that work."
Although his work may be unseen, it hasn't gone unnoticed.
Dumas was recently honored with the "Campus Sustainability Pioneer" Award by the Tennessee Valley Authority's Green Power Switch program.
The award, given by TVA and its local power distributors, annually recognizes businesses and individuals who have made major contributions to the sustainability efforts.
Dumas' efforts in that cause extend far beyond campus. He was a founder of the Starkville Community Market in 2006 and, as an Alderman, has proven to be a progressive voice for the city, where he has been a strong proponent of environmentally-friendly causes such as public transit and moves to make the city more pedestrian-friendly.
"It's a very deserving recognition for Mr. Dumas," said Terry Kemp of Starkville Electric Department. Starkville Electric is one of the many partners in TVA's Green Switch program. "Jeremiah has been extremely active in promoting sustainability, not just on campus but throughout the community. This is something he obviously believes in very strongly."
Dumas said he feels fortunate to be able to be an active participant in helping his university and community pursue sustainability goals.
"I guess it's a natural outgrowth of my career," Dumas said. "As a landscape architect, it's an issue that is at the forefront of our profession. So I am fortunate to be in a position to be able to practice what I preach."
Dumas said he does not view the award as an individual honor.
"Really, there are so many people that play a part in any of these sustainability projects. The university support has been wonderful and our campus group, Students for a Sustainable Campus, has been a great ally for the things we are doing."