35 Innovators Under 35: Meet Brandon Trelstad
As the Sustainability Coordinator at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Brandon Trelstad has put some teeth into sustainability. Throughout his six years working at OSU, Brandon has worked to change the conversation about sustainability from opportunity to action.
He grew up in Salem, and became interested in environmental issues at a young age. Following his graduation from South Salem High, he headed a few miles south to attend OSU because of its strength in natural resource issues. From there, working on conserving resources became a natural career path.
Brandon first worked in government relations at OSU and participated in initial sustainability plans for the university, but recognized that to really make an impact, he would need to ensure there was funding and political will to implement the plan. It didn’t take Brandon long to realize that his interest in the environmental movement was rooted in politics – and that building support for renewable energy investments, while also mobilizing students to lead and take action on university sustainability initiatives, is a full time job.
The Sustainability Coordinator position was created for Brandon, and he has effectively worked to build support across the university for sustainability initiatives like increasing investment and use of alternative modes of transportation. Brandon has also worked to strengthen and advise the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition in their efforts to take a local approach to fighting climate change and making Corvallis more conducive to transportation choice.
Brandon has advice for up-and-coming sustainability advocates looking to make their own mark. “It takes time to figure out what your core issues are and find your niche,” he says. Take time to experiment and reflect. Think about what is fun to you.”
It is because of the work of people like Brandon that OSU has become one of the nation’s largest purchasers of renewable energy, and that Corvallis is such a great place to enjoy by foot, transit, or bike.
Profile by Tara Sulzen, 1000 Friends Outreach Coordinator