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Capitol Hill
Cleaning Up Capitol Hill

Two classmates and graduates of Rensselaer’s Environmental Management and Policy program are helping to clean up Capitol Hill.

Mary Alice Baker ’96 is the recycling program manager for the office buildings of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Scott Shapleigh ’96 holds the same title for the U.S. Senate. They are responsible for implementing recycling and education programs in the House and Senate office buildings. Both also are looking at ways to impact the areas of electronics recycling, composting, buying recycled goods, and overall waste reduction and re-use.

Before being named to the position in October 2000, Baker held positions as the recycling coordinator for Pasadena, Calif., and the solid waste program specialist for Renton, Wash. She also was a project manager for Winnett & Associates in Troy, working to reduce paper waste at the New York State Assembly. Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Manhattan College, and a master’s in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer.

Shapleigh took over his new role in February 2002. Prior to that he was the environmental, health, and safety coordinator for Airpax Corp., an electronics manufacturer with plants in Maryland and Mexico. Shapleigh implemented pollution prevention, recycling, and regulatory compliance programs for the company, which won an EPA award in 1999 for solid waste prevention. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and his master’s from Rensselaer.

Both agree that their main goals are educating staff members about recycling, and reducing the overall amount of waste sent to landfills.

“A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘you are doing a good job’ from a staffer or co-worker assures me that I am making a difference to conserve the Earth’s resources for future generations and that other people appreciate my efforts,” says Baker.

Shapleigh says he’s proud of “working in such a prestigious place. The Capitol buildings should set an example for the rest of the country in environmental conservation,” he believes.

Both Baker and Shapleigh work for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), a non-partisan Legislative Branch agency charged with maintaining, preserving, and improving 14 million square feet of building space covering more than 270 acres. The AOC’s recycling mission is to implement a user-friendly program and provide everyone in the House and Senate offices with the opportunity to participate. The ultimate goal is to divert as much material from landfills as possible.

Rensselaer Magazine: June 2002
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