An Interview with Miami University’s Director of Sustainability

By: Meekael Hailu

Miami University takes Sustainability on its campus very seriously, so much so that the university employs a Director of Sustainability. The second ever Director of Sustainability is Adam Sizemore, and he agreed to participate in a brief interview to give a look into who he is, what the actual position entails and why he feels that sustainability is crucial.

Adam Sizemore grew up in Morehead, Kentucky and decided to stay local when it was time to attend school. During his undergraduate studies at Morehead State University, he double majored in Sociology and Philosophy. Upon completion of his undergraduate work, he went straight to a master’s program where he studied Sociology. Adam knew from earlier on that he wanted to stay in the world of applied research, so the decision for him to continue with a master’s program also at Morehead State University wasn’t a tough decision to make. Although Adam was studying Sociology, he always had an interest in the environment and exactly how it related to various social dynamics. At first, he didn’t realize how the environment related to how we organize ourselves socially but decided through his master’s program to concentrate on Sociology and how it pertains to the environment. His thesis featured him spending time with local organic growers to get exposed to how and why they do what they do and their relationship to corporate-based agriculture. Adam then progressed to attending the University of Louisville to get a Ph.D. in Applied Sociology with a focus in Public Policy and Environmental Sociology. During his studies, he looked deeper into the unequal distribution of environmental harms by race and class. All of these various experiences helped shaped him and allowed him to earn his position as the second ever Miami University Director of Sustainability.  

When he first visited the campus, he fell in love, as most do. The surrounding Oxford area reminded him a lot of where he was raised, which brought a welcoming familiarity to him. All of these factors made him eager to get started on the new chapter of his life accompanied by his wife and 10-month old daughter. His responsibilities for the position initially were encapsulated with getting acclimated to the previous director’s decisions, understanding where Miami needs to focus on more environmentally conscious tasks and much more. His duties and responsibilities are wide-reaching. One main foundation of his job, however, is gathering data on actually how sustainable Miami really is, and he is attaining that by various analyses that should provide an accurate enough picture of Miami University’s various footprints. Through that, he can delve into the changes that have to be made with a better understanding of the current situation.

In addition to gathering data through analysis, he also wants to engage the population of the school with a more hands-on approach to get as many varied views necessary to help him in what he strives to accomplish in-tandem with various analyses. He believes that every practice and discipline that this school has to offer also has a sustainability component to it that can be acknowledged, and he strives to show as many people as possible the importance of sustainability in various different ways. These are the tasks that Dr. Sizemore is taking to successfully accomplish the feat he and many others desperately want to reach: making Miami University the most sustainable campus it can possibly be.


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