Sustainable Development Students Join Columbia's Office of Sustainability

Columbia University's Office of Sustainability enthusiastically welcomes its newest interns, Daniel Leal and Edgar Flores, both Sustainable Development undergraduates from the School of General Studies.

May 23, 2023

Daniel Leal, a passionate advocate for sustainability, has invested the last four years in a diverse range of sustainable development initiatives. These include teaching history in public schools, investigating the efficacy of lithium-ion batteries, and delving into environmental, social, governance (ESG) finance.

Daniel's role at the Office of Sustainability will revolve around cultivating a sustainable culture among Columbia affiliates by creating influential content for Columbia’s Commute Stories webpage and writing news stories about changes in Columbia’s operations that contribute to University’s overall sustainability goals and Plan 2030.

Edgar Flores brings with him a rich professional background, having served for six years as an event coordinator at Fooda Inc. There, his responsibilities included being the primary point of contact for any IT needs, handling device installation and troubleshooting, leveraging technology to enhance productivity and efficiency, and assisting in the daily operations of the New York City Fooda office.

At the Office of Sustainability, Edgar has walked multiple Columbia campuses to update the University’s bike map with new bike parking locations. He is currently researching information and innovative ideas from the e-bike industry that can be brought to Columbia to improve safety and access to campus. Additionally, Edgar is researching how a commute planning assistance program might benefit Columbia’s vehicle reduction goals as well as updating Columbia’s image stock on sustainable transportation. Today, he is planning a visit to Lamont Observatory to photograph park sites and riding initiatives.

Plan 2030 is a strategic ten-year blueprint that sets bold sustainability goals for Columbia’s New York campuses, grounded in robust climate science. The objective is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This plan targets key areas such as greenhouse gas emissions reduction, sustainable transportation, and waste reduction, among others. As Sustainable Development majors, both Daniel and Edgar will apply their knowledge and passion to elevate awareness about the plan and mobilize the Columbia community to actively contribute to a more sustainable future.

Portrait of Daniel Leal

"I am delighted to join the Office of Sustainability and contribute to the journey toward a more sustainable and resilient campus community," said Daniel. "I look forward to working with the team and gaining a more profound understanding of Columbia’s sustainability plan in motion."

Portrait of Edgar Flores

"I am grateful for the opportunity to get to work with an incredibly talented team. Their enthusiasm is contagious and every day presents a unique set of problems to tackle. I appreciate the opportunity to solve problems creatively and the opportunity to change how Columbia moves on a day to day basis,” said Edgar.