Southeast Sustainability Directors Network Newsletter

Welcome to SSDN's first monthly newsletter!

We've designed this newsletter to help strengthen our peer-to-peer network of municipal sustainability professionals. This month, we bring you an interview with John Richardson of the Town of Chapel Hill, a new resource, and question from the USDN website. If you do not wish to receive this monthly email, you can unsubscribe by clicking here.

We'd love to hear your feedback on the newsletter - what did want to see more of? Less of? Just reply to this email with your comments. 
Susanna Sutherland and Maggie Ullman 
SSDN Co-Chairs

Take USDN Survey by February 8th

Many municipal sustainability programs follow the mantra Measure What Matters. SSDN matters and we'd like to measure how this network is working for you. USDN will help do this for the south and regional networks across the country by generating and analyzing a member survey. This survey aims to understand the value of having a network. We will use this information going forward to guide how this network develops to meet your needs. 

To take this survey, visit Please take the survey by the February 8th deadline. 

Interview with: John Richardson 

Each month, we'll interview a SSDN member with the same three questions. Would you like to be our next interviewee? Just reply to this email!

Today we're talking with John Richardson, the Town of Chapel Hill's sustainability officer. 

What are you working on right now that you are most excited about?
I'm excited about two big things for different reasons:
  1. A home retrofit program called Chapel Hill WISE that helps homeowners make home energy upgrades by using local energy professionals. This program has been a challenge as it is my first at the community scale, but it also has been very rewarding. 
  2. Updating Chapel Hill's Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO). I'm working to help simplify the LUMO, add elements of form-based code, and find additional ways to incorporate sustainability. 
What do you want to know from others in SSDN? 
  • How are you working in ways that are more efficient and effective? Working in a small office, I'm always looking for the '10 Minute Meals' version of projects. Answer here
  • What are the gaps in polices, practices, and initiatives across USDN? What role can USDN play in fostering experimentation to address some of these gaps? Answer here
  • How do you balance the 'doing' of your work with the 'telling'? How do you find time to document and promote your work? Answer here
  • Where are things in this field headed? What do you see as the cutting edge of sustainability? Answer here
What led you to this work? 
I've always been drawn to this work. I started as a biology major, but learned I didn't want to go into the hard sciences. I eventually looked at urban planning and ended up in environmental planning. Even though my educational track is mostly environmental, I’ve come to fully embrace and appreciate a holistic view of sustainability that incorporates the triple bottom line. 

Useful Resource: MindMixer

A recent question in the USDN forum about community involvement highlighted an online tool for gathering feedback or generating new ideas: MindMixer. This platform allows you to set up projects and generate community input on those projects. The City of Orlando is using this tool to solicit feedback on a number of project as part of their Green Works Orlando Project

Question of the Month

This month's question comes from John Richardson: 
Where are things in this field headed? What do you see as the cutting edge of sustainability? Answer here

About SSDN

SSDN is an unaffiliated peer to peer network that is inclusive of municipal professionals working in the field of sustainability, and effective at networking, best practice sharing, and collaborating together on larger priorities for the region.

We seek to become a network whose priorities are set by network members for network members. The Southeast Network strives to effectively support one another to successfully capture funding opportunities, influence sustainable policies and programs at the local and state levels, and lead the advancement of national sustainability.

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