Kristin Blackler

Kristin Blackler, director of the Office of Sustainability, won the Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service given to an employee who holds a professional position within the university system and who has demonstrated tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on student experience, and/or leadership distinguished by role modeling in a professional capacity. The award carries a $1,500 honorarium.

As the inaugural director of the Office of Sustainability, Blackler has been a progressive force for sustainability since joining the university in 2013. Blackler helps students and other staff to understand land-scale concepts such as sustainability in small, easily digestible pieces, and then also understand how those pieces fit into the larger picture of sustainability at Montana State.

Her supervisor and colleagues say she has improved Montana State through her passion for sustainability, as well as for her passion for the success of MSU’s students. Specifically, Blackler has worked to improve MSU’s recycling efforts, not only in the daily operations of the university, but also at athletic and other events. In partnership with MSU Facilities Services, Blackler has also worked to improve waste diversion rates at MSU. Those rates are up from 11 percent in fiscal year 2013 to more than 19 percent in fiscal year 2016 (an amount that equals more than 430 tons of waste being diverted from the landfill). New and creative recycling receptacles and signs, along with strategic placement, have contributed to the success of this program. Blackler has also helped with efforts to improve MSU’s bike-ability.

Blackler’s colleagues say her friendly, positive and collaborative leadership style, combined with her strong work ethic, make her a respected member of the MSU community. She also serves on a variety of committees, including the Campus Sustainability Advisory Council, and is active in professional organizations and local community service activities.