Humboldt State University

People on the Ground: Staff Profiles

Morgan P. King
Campus Sustainability Coordinator

In February of 2014 Morgan King and his friend rode their bikes through Cuba. “This was before any kind of normalization between Cuba and the US,” King recalls, “so we had to sneak in from Mexico.” His bike tour brought him to parts of the island rarely visited by tourists. Besides the natural beauty, hospitable people and the music, he was excited to experience a place where sustainability had been integrated into the society’s fabric. “You could say that, in some ways Cuba was forced into implementing more sustainable alternatives in agriculture, transportation, forestry and energy. But there’s also an active and planned movement towards sustainability in the country. For example, Cuba has some of the largest biological reserves in the Caribbean, a burgeoning cycling culture, major reforestation efforts, solar projects, and consumer-materialism is not promoted as a path to social achievement.” For King, that trip provided a perfect example of how sustainability is a practice, not just an abstract idea or vision for the future. “Sustainability shouldn’t just be something discussed in the classroom or conference room. Our campus’ buildings, operations and services can provide a context for hands-on learning in sustainability, not just for students but for faculty and staff as well.”

Sustainability is always on the mind of Morgan King, who became HSU’s Sustainability & Waste Coordinator in 2011.

King graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology. After 2 ½ years in Nepal as a fisheries extension volunteer for the Peace Corps, he returned to Santa Cruz, where he supervised crews on habitat restoration projects, managed a school garden and taught gardening and life sciences activities through the Life Lab program. In 2003 King earned a Master’s Degree from the Environment & Community program at Humboldt State. He then worked statewide, managing energy education and sustainability programs for a Bay Area non-profit before taking his current position at HSU in 2011.

King’s job has two primary functions – to manage HSU’s resource recovery and waste management operations, and to develop and support programs and initiatives that integrate sustainability into the operations, academics, and culture of the campus. “One thing that I love about being the Sustainability & Waste Coordinator is the variety,” he explains. “One moment I’m in high level meetings with administrators, the next moment I’m working with students on a zero waste campaign, then later that day I’ll be forklifting surplus furniture onto a truck for re-use at a local school.”

    Currently he is focusing efforts on:

  1. Facilitating the development of a Climate Action Plan for HSU;
  2. Re-starting a broad food-waste and food-soiled paper diversion program and helping transition HSU towards zero waste, and
  3. Supporting faculty and students utilizing campus sustainability initiatives as a context for learning.