Andy Hernandez, born and raised in San Jose, California, has been Santa Clara University’s Stockroom Leader in the Facilities Department for the past thirteen years. He is also one of the newest members to the Center for Sustainability’s Workplace Sustainability Liaison program. Andy has incorporated features of sustainability, such as ethical and responsible consumerism, into his work. The Center for Sustainability asked him a few questions about himself and his role as a conscious consumer.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
AH: I have been working at SCU since 2000. I am a proud parent of a teenager and we both love love musicals and watching new movies on the silver screen. I also like spending time with my nieces and nephews doing arts and crafts. I am really not that big on talking about myself and am kind of a shy person.
What is your role exactly as Stockroom Leader?
AH: I am responsible for the purchasing and inventory control of the University Operations Stockroom. It is my job to research and purchase parts and materials needed for the maintenance and repair of University Properties and Equipment.
What are some of the challenges you face in your position?
AH: One challenge is trying to identify suitable replacements or alternatives for obsolete or inefficient items. Another challenge is trying to stay current with any legislation changes that may impact the work done by the staff we support. There are constantly new laws that impact the availability of products that the average consumer does not really have knowledge of.
What led you to become a Workplace Sustainability Liaison?
AH: I have worked with Lindsey Kalkbrenner (Director of the Center for Sustainability) in the past with different sustainability efforts on campus and when she asked if I would like to participate, I jumped on the opportunity because I enjoy learning and implementing new ideas that help reduce our waste and carbon footprint.
What are some of the sustainable and responsible consumerism actions you have taken or plan on taking as a Stockroom Leader?
AH: Well I think I have taken some small steps that have hopefully been transparent to the University community, but do demonstrate responsible consumerism. A few examples include simple purchases like [faucet] aerators that reduced the GPM [gallons per minute] flow from 2.2 gpm to 1.5 gpm. I also get batteries rebuilt with new components instead of purchasing a whole new battery. Another example would be the purchasing of waste and recycle liners that are made of at least 70% post-consumer recycled content. I try to identify products that will reduce wrench time, maintenance costs, water and energy because saving on those items can translate into dollars.
Do you think responsible and ethical consumerism is important? If so, why?
AH: Yes, I feel it is really important. I mainly feel this way because I think we should try to make our dollars stretch as far as possible without compromising quality or our environment.
As consumers, what can we do to be more mindful and ethical with our purchasing power?
AH: I think the biggest thing we can do is educate ourselves about the products and services we spend our money on. We can show our purchasing power by not purchasing something if we know that a company is not being a steward for our environment or community.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
AH: Try to have an open mind to new ideas and products; don’t perpetuate behavior that you know is wasteful just because that is the way it has always been done.
Contributed by Olivia Benson ‘14, Sustainability Intern, Garden Events & Outreach