Feb. 7 marked the official start date of NJIT’s new assistant director of sustainability, Dr. Prabhakar Shrestha. “I have always been an environmentalist dating back to my high school and early college days in Kathmandu, Nepal,” he explained. “Climate change is affecting everyone, especially marginalized people living in vulnerable areas.”
Shrestha attended the University of Nebraska, where he advocated for different initiatives as a student leader. Upon graduating in 2014, he was immediately hired as the inaugural sustainability professional for the university.
“By then, I had accumulated experience through my role as a student sustainability leader and also through a graduate Recycling Coordinator,” he said. “I was very comfortable leading groups to showcase the sustainability affairs prevalent in the community and put together events, plans and policies that reflect the underlying culture of the community.”
He has already worked on several projects on NJIT’s campus; this includes working with NJIT Green, a student-led initiative with the goal of promoting new and lasting sustainable practices, to cultivate native plants around the newly built fire pit and to put together an Earth Day event. Shrestha has also worked with the Albert Dorman Honors College to plant a food forest.
On May 12, he plans to bring an e-waste recycling event at NJIT while working with Panasonic USA. Additionally, he has investigated NJIT’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory to see what emissions there are.
“What brings me to NJIT is the fact that this community is dedicated to the sustainability cause,” Shrestha said. “The 2025 Strategic Plan lists sustainability as a core value. My research showed that there was already significant work being done.”
In the immediate future, he plans to put together a council of community members to discuss pathways towards carbon neutrality. He also looks forward to collecting data for sustainability metrics, which can then be publicly displayed. “In the long run, I plan to work with our community leaders and senior administrators to put plans, policies and programs to have our campus be carbon neutral,” he added.
Student support and zeal are paramount to this success. “NJIT has a great opportunity to show the world that no matter what our majors are, we are in sustainability together,” Shrestha concluded. “We make sustainability happen.”