Rich was hired as UConn’s first environmental officer in 2002. He established and oversees the University’s Office of Sustainability (OS), formerly the Office of Environmental Policy (OEP). He also established and, for many years, directed UConn’s Environmental Compliance Office, which has since become a part of EH&S/Public Safety.
Rich leads and collaborates on a wide range of sustainability initiatives and programs related to energy, water, waste, food and dining, transportation, low impact development, outreach & engagement, green building and climate action. He chairs UConn’s Environmental Policy Advisory Council and is the founding advisor to the EcoHusky and ECOalition student groups. He led collaborative efforts among faculty, staff and students to develop UConn’s Climate Action Plan (adopted in 2010) and subsequent five-year interim updates with specific strategic goals and metrics. He is the executive editor of UConn’s sustainability reports and publications, including a website, blog, semi-annual newsletter, and biennial Sustainability Progress Reports.
To further advance climate-leadership at UConn, Rich organized the UConn@COP program, by which a group of high-achieving and environmentally-minded students have participated in the UN’s annual Climate Summit and Conference of the Parties. He has been a collaborator on several research projects, taught an honors course in environmental sustainability, conducted green building/campus tours, and been a frequent speaker and guest lecturer in many courses across a wide range of disciplines. Under his leadership, UConn has been ranked consistently among the greenest colleges and universities, nationally and globally.
Prior to joining UConn, Rich held positions as a corporate environmental manager for a Fortune 500 energy company, practicing environmental and land use attorney, faculty adjunct in environmental law and management, legislative attorney, and an energy and environmental program director and lobbyist for a statewide association.
Rich is a member of the Board of Directors for AASHE (Chair, 2018-19), and the NECSC Steering Committee, as well as an Executive Liaison to Second Nature’s University Climate Change Coalition. He has served on many advisory boards and commissions, including five years as a gubernatorial appointee to the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, and was a long time member of his hometown Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commission, which he chaired for nine years. He received his B.A. from Penn State University and J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.