Humboldt State University

People on the Ground: Staff Profiles

Mary Grooms VanCott
Assoc Director, Student Health Center

Mary Grooms VanCott, Associate Director of the Student Health Center, sits at a desk on the second story of the newly remodeled Health Center.

As the remodel got under way VanCott recognized this as the perfect opportunity for an energy efficiency upgrade and a chance to change some of the Health Center's energy consumption behaviors.

Under her initiative the Health Center received an intensive energy audit by HSU Power Save Green Campus.

The Power Save Green Campus Program is a statewide student-implemented energy efficiency program at 12 University of California and California State University campuses and at Stanford University. Power Save Green Campus is a program of the non-profit organization The Alliance to Save Energy. Investor-owned utilities (like PG&E) and the ratepayers of California fund the program.

"Green Campus has me trained to turn off my light and my smart strip [a specially designed power strip that eliminates phantom loads]. After just one to two years of focus from Green Campus my desire to make a difference here, at the Health Center, has affected everyone. Everyone is paying a little more attention. We've made changes from the personal to the departmental and hopefully this will be a model to the rest of campus. I have to hope that one person can make a difference and set an example."

Energy efficiency and sustainability aren't the only places VanCott's been continuing her education. In May 2008, VanCott obtained a second degree, a B.A. in forensic anthropology from Humboldt State, through Humboldt State's Career Development Program.

Originally from Los Angeles, she says L.A. will always be home, "But every time I go back it's so much busier, crazier, and I look forward to coming back to Humboldt."

"I think the Health Center is the best kept secret on campus, most don't realize the extent or quality of our services. We have a pharmacist, X-rays, labs, and six health care providers. In a community with limited health care resources this really puts parents' minds at ease."

When she's not saving energy or keeping students healthy, VanCott is out hiking, scuba diving and playing bocce ball with friends.