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Jim Triplett dedicated 30+ years to every conservation-related activity he could find before retiring from the Biology Department in 2014.

But he’s not done: he’s now serving as the university’s first Special Assistant to the President for Sustainability. And he’s doing it as a volunteer.

Triplett, an avid outdoorsman, came to PSU on a football scholarship. A 19,000-mile summer research junket with a biology professor led to a degree in biology and an eventual position as chair of the department for 23 years.

Recognized as a state leader in conservation, solid waste, recycling, and natural resources, he walks the walk, using solar energy and a ground source heat pump at home.

In his new role at PSU, Triplett will provide leadership to the University Sustainability Committee.

President Steve Scott had hoped the university would one day be able to hire a Chief Sustainability Officer — an investment that would pay off in reduced energy consumption and new revenue opportunities. Budget challenges and pressing financial needs have prohibited that from happening.

“I think (Triplett’s volunteerism) has real promise for moving us forward at a more accelerated rate,” Scott said. “His commitment to sustainability is unquestioned and his passion for taking care of the planet is unmatched. I’m confident he can bring pace and purpose to our work.”