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Environmental Studies

John Simko '92 Leads Business Development

Posted March 27, 2013

Aside from being the Director of Business Development for Pepin Associates, a small advanced composites company, and former town manager of Greenville, Maine, John Simko is also a Bowdoin alum. He graduated with the class of 1992. In addition to John being an avid member of the Bowdoin Druids and the Bowdoin Outing Club, he was a Sociology and Environmental Studies major. His personal experience with the land sparked his interest in Environmental Studies.  “I grew up on a fifteen acre plot of ground with my mom. I romped through the woods as a kid. Growing up, I always felt that land should be protected. Land should be conserved.”
 
John had a significant influence on Bowdoin’s move towards becoming an environmentally aware campus. He was a member of the Druids, Bowdoin’s “catch all student environmentalism group” at the time.  As a Druids member, he staged a protest in front of Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees to bring awareness to a Bowdoin environmental issue: several trees were cut down to create the parking lot behind Druckenmiller Hall. This action led to the creation of the Bowdoin’s Environmental Impact Committee. The Committee reviewed and helped develop policies to determine the environmental impact of proposed physical changes to Bowdoin owned properties. He was one of the first student members to serve on this committee. Over twenty years later, Simko states, “Now Bowdoin’s a leader in LEED standards and energy conservation.”
 
When John was not leading environmental initiatives or exploring the wilderness of Maine with the Bowdoin Outing Club, he was taking Environmental Studies courses with Ed Laine, a former director of the Environmental Studies program. Simko notes, “Several ‘aha’ moments that I had [in Laine’s courses] stayed with me.” Simko remembers attending the office hours of former College President Bob Edwards saying, “[He would] take to heart what I had to say. I wanted to treat other people the way President Edwards treated me.”  
 
Reflecting on his years as a Bowdoin student John says, “Being that passionate, sometimes irrational, environmentally-minded student, helped to temper my perspective when I finally got to that place where I could have some authority.” John has served on the Review Committee of Maine’s Forest Legacy Committee, and was appointed by the Governor to serve on Steering Committee for the Northern Forest Sustainable Economy Initiative. Simko offers this advice to current Bowdoin students: “Be passionate and don’t hold back. It’s important to do something now!”

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 “Being that passionate, sometimes irrational, environmentally-minded student, helped to temper my perspective when I finally got to that place where I could have some authority.”

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