As the Physical Plant Director at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Mr. Ferro reflects on his Mayor’s Greenovate Award and the school’s commitment to climate action.
The Greenovate community is a vast network of Boston leaders making a difference in climate action. Read below for our conversation with a winner of the Mayor’s Greenovate Awards in our series Where Are They Now?
Bob Ferro won the Mayor's Greenovate Award in 2016 for Community Engagement. You can nominate an individual, business, or any kind of group or organization to be considered for the Mayor’s Greenovate Awards.
Bob Ferro, Physical Plant Director, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Tell us about your work and how it impacts Boston.
For the past thirty years, Wentworth Institute of Technology has partnered with the Boston Public Schools STRIVE Program, providing vocational exploration, training, and employment to thousands of high school students with significant disabilities. This long-term partnership between Wentworth and BPS is an example of community engagement at its best. It's a relationship that has proven to be mutually beneficial and uniquely sustainable.
In my role as Physical Plant Director, I champion climate action in the Mission Hill and Fenway neighborhoods of Boston through recycling opportunities on campus and extend those opportunities to BPS high school students city-wide.
The Wentworth Training Program includes two vocational experiences at the same worksite. These experiences are part of a contract with Wentworth Institute of Technology that dates back to 1987 and reflects a standing commitment by the college to provide opportunities to Boston students with disabilities and at-risk youth.
What did winning the Mayor’s Greenovate award mean to you?
While I was truly honored and humbled by receiving the Greenovate Award, I was mostly delighted that the Wentworth Training Program received such recognition, especially in the category of "community engagement."
What leaders or organizations have influenced you the most? Why?
Wentworth's longstanding relationship with the Boston Public Schools STRIVE Program, which provides vocational exploration and training to high school students with significant disabilities, has been and continues to be a great influence in my actions regarding the Go Green initiative.
What do you believe is the most pressing environmental issue of our time?
Global warming and climate change are relevant these days, and that's why I see the need for more recycling programs like Wentworth's Go Green initiative, now more than ever.
What actions do you suggest people take today to get involved to act on climate?
I believe that other organizations would greatly benefit from implementing aspects of the Wentworth Training Program model. The Go Green Recycling program provides structured experiences in recycling, with collected recyclable materials being cleaned, weighed, and sold for re-use.
The Facilities program provides a high level of technical experience in equipment operation, cleaning, and facilities management. Skills from both programs are transferable to a variety of career pathways in facilities management, environmental services, and related industries.
Did this award reignite your motivation to continue your work?
Receiving the 2016 Greenovate award in the area of community engagement has prompted me to expand the opportunities for Boston Public Schools students on the Wentworth campus. I remain committed to those who live in the community, their youth, and specifically youth with disabilities, and I believe that the success of Go Green has had a positive impact on campus life as a whole.
Bob Ferro won the Mayor's Greenovate Award in 2016 for Community Engagement. If you would like to learn about our most recent cohort of 2017 Mayor’s Greenovate Award winners, you can read more here.